Tag: Environment

Event Monday August 3: The Price of Gold: The Cost of Mechanized Mining in Chocó, Colombia

RSVP at wola.org to join the event live.

Four years after the signing of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a new era of conflict plagues the Pacific department of Chocó. Illegal armed groups continue to viciously contest territorial control, inflicting violence and forcibly displacing Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities. The groups are interested in controlling this biodiverse area rich in minerals including gold. Artisanal mining by Afro-Colombians is a practice started since the time enslaved Africans were exploited and forced to work the mines. This practice takes into account Afro-descendants’ cosmology of environmental preservation and sustainable practices.  

In their new book The Price of Gold, Steve Cagan and Mary Kelsey describe how these practices were changed once mechanized mining was introduced to Chocó. While traditional panning for gold minimally affects rivers and forests, mechanized machines and the use of toxic chemicals are creating grave environmental, health, and social damage. In their book, Cagan and Kelsey present an in-depth view of Afro-Colombians’ ancestral mining process and how this cultural practice was integrated into their daily lives. They discuss the impact that widespread mechanized mining is having in these communities and offer testimonials of persons who are fighting for the rights of these communities and the environment. 

On Monday, August 3 please join us for a presentation by Steve Cagan and Mary Kelsey about their book The Price of Gold: The Cost of Mechanized Mining in Chocó, Colombia. The event will be moderated by WOLA Director for the Andes Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli

Event Details:
Monday, August 3, 2020
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT

Featuring:

Steve Cagan has been working closely with the Catholic Diocese of Quibdó, federations of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities, and Colombian and international NGOs in Chocó, Colombia since 2003. His photographs and writing on issues facing the communities there have been exhibited and widely used in publications on social and environmental consequences of gold mining on four continents. Since the mid-1970s, he has been practicing what he prefers to call activist photography. He’s most concerned with exploring strength and dignity in everyday struggles of grassroots people resisting pressures and problems.

Mary Kelsey has exhibited paintings in New York and other cities, and published drawings and paintings with academic, environmental and other organizations in the United States, Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia. Her art addresses the interface of cultural and natural systems. She was awarded a Fulbright research grant in Costa Rica for her project, “Drawings and photographs: communities, rain forest conservation and sustainable development,” and subsequently returned as a USIA cultural advisor to Honduras, where she worked with teachers and local artists to create the first illustrated school primer in the Miskito language.

Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli is the Director for the Andes at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), where she advocates for the human and territorial rights of Colombia’s Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, among others. She fell in love with Colombia due to the abundant natural beauty of the Pacific region in 1999. Since then, she’s worked in partnership with ethnic activists to advance peace, protect their rights and preserve their biodiverse areas.

The event will be conducted in English, with Spanish translation available.

RSVP at wola.org to join the event live.

Tags: Afro-Descendant Communities, Chocó, Environment, Illegal Mining

August 2, 2020

El Coronavirus también podría poner en cuarentena a la Paz

Publicado por La Silla Vacía el 25 de abril de 2020.

A discussion of peace accord implementation during the time of coronavirus, with María Alejandra Vélez of the Universidad de los Andes, Kyle Johnson of the Kroc Institute, and Juan Carlos Garzón of the Fundación Ideas para la Paz.

Tags: Armed Groups, Attacks on social leaders, Compliance with Commitments, Drug Policy, Environment, Public Health, Security Deterioration

April 25, 2020

February 23, 2020

  • Alarm grows over environmental damage wrought by armed groups. FARC dissidents are believed responsible for a fire in La Macarena National Park, near the popular Caño Cristales tourist destination.
  • FARC dissidents, some from the “Carolina Ramírez Front,” threaten park rangers in Chiribiquete National Park in Caquetá, ordering them to leave. Similar threats occur in as many as nine other parks. More than 9 million hectares of parks in Colombia’s Amazon basin region lack official presence.
  • Security forces believe the dissidents intend to expand coca cultivation in the parks. They contend that the groups’ actions are a response to “Operation Artemis,” a military operation that aims to curtail deforestation.
Photo Source: Tweet from Defensoría delPueblo @DefensoriaCol

Tags: Caqueta, Dissident Groups, Environment, Meta, Security Deterioration

February 23, 2020