Magazine article New Internationalist

'Territory, Autonomy, Dignity. and No Coal'

Magazine article New Internationalist

'Territory, Autonomy, Dignity. and No Coal'

Article excerpt

'We are at the vanguard of the resistance,' proclaims )orge Montiel. He belongs to an indigenous organization called Maikivalasalii, meaning 'Not for Sale', reports IPS. At stake is his homeland, threatened by state and foreignrun coal mining operations in the Guajira Peninsula, which straddles the ColombiaVenezuela border on the Caribbean coast. 'If coal mining operations continue to expand we will be left without land to grow crops or raise goats, to live in the ways of our culture. We will end up living in destitution in the cities,' he adds.

Jorge's community is part of the 500,000-strong Wayuu indigenous group, and it is not only their home in the northern foothills of the Sierra de Perijá which is under threat. Environmentalist Elpidio González explains: 'If they open more mines it will be the end of the Wayúu communities, but also the end of the Sierra, because the forest clearing and pollution will destroy the trees, the rivers, the biodiversity and, ultimately, the water. …

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