Protest by Belen Dice No A La Mineria
Impacts of mega-mining investments in Latin America
Recently Divest Strathclyde was delighted to be part of the COP26 Coalition’s ‘Global Gathering’ – ‘From The Ground Up’ series of events. We held a session in which looked at how Scottish pension fund investments are financing climate breakdown and impacts on indigenous communities in Latin America. We heard from frontline activists in Chile and Ecuador who are fighting back against the huge multinationals who exploit and pollute their lands. Finally we talked about how we can take action to resist this climate colonialism by supporting indigenous campaigns and through the global divestment movement which Divest Strathclyde is part of.
Our first speakers were the ‘Belen dice no a la mineria’ group – Belen says no to mining – in Northern Chile. Leyla, Haylen and Doris told us about where they live and how it has been plundered by the mega-mining companies like Rio Tinto and BHP. Copper is mined here on a huge scale but this requires massive amounts of water which Chile has precious little of due to a country-wide drought – the worst in decades as a result of global warming. The Belen dice no a la mineria group is linked into a wider network of groups called the Modatima ( Movimiento por la Defensa del Agua, la Tierra y la Protección del Medioambiente) which means ‘Movement for the defence of water, earth and protection of the natural environment’. Leyla spoke of how we in the Global North have access to information and ways of challenging the extractivist, mega-mining companies that are ravaging her country and others.
Our next speaker was Pablo Fajardo from Ecuador who is a farmer and head of the legal team fighting the battle for compensation against the huge oil and gas major Chevron which for over three decades from the early 1960’s spilled toxic waste and crude oil onto indigenous lands in the Ecuadorian provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana of the Northern Amazon. Pablo is part of an organization called UDAPT ( Somos la Unión de Afectados y Afectadas por las Operaciones Petroleras de Texaco) – which brings together the affected communities fighting for justice from Chevron (previously Texaco) for its oil dump in Ecuador. Pablo spoke of how we need international legal mechanisms to bring Chevron and others like them to justice. He also spoke of how the global North can call out and divest from our multi-million pound investments in fossil fuel giants by our pension funds and banks.
Watch Pablo’s video here
How you can take action
If you are outraged at this climate colonialism and ecocide that we heard about then please take action and use our toolkit . It includes lots of information and suggestions of ways that we can help to bring about divestment and climate justice for Latin America.