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Colombia: Analyst explains conflicts involving indigenous leaders, agribusiness and extractive industries in Cauca

Author: Robin Llewellyn for InterContinental Cry, Published on: 14 July 2017

“Clouds of uncertainty: A web of impunity, corruption and extractivism confronts indigenous leaders in Colombia’s southwest”

Sotará, Cauca

…On March 5 of [2016], a death threat was anonymously placed under the door of the Yanacona’s council hall in Rioblanco, an indigenous reservation in the municipality of Sotará…The death threat pointed squarely at the Yanacona’s Governor and Vice-governor, as well as one security guard…A year earlier, on March 2, 2016, the young governor of Rioblanco, William Alexander Oime Alarcón, was shot dead…In May 2017 the Pacifista! website noted that “Ten of the 35 leaders killed in Colombia since the beginning of December 2016 died in Cauca, almost all in broad daylight and in populated areas”…The authors drew on a report from the Ombudsman…that said these new armed groups have particularly “threatened community leaders and inhabitants that oppose both illegal and large-scale mining.”…[and] also mentioned the prevalence in Cauca of the coca industry, the deadly continuation of the land conflict between indigenous Nasa communities and the sugar industry, and the stigmatization and subsequent attacks against activists linked to the CRIC and to the left-wing Marcha Patriotica political movement…Others support the importance of the mining sector in driving the violence…Nelson Cuspián Jiménez…told IC: “In the year 2006 Anglo Gold Ashanti arrived in the community, but thanks to the CRIC y the Grand Council of the Yanacona People, actions were organized to protect the territory and its communities. AngloGold had initiated its works without exercising prior consultation as demanded by the legal norms. But then last week that they would enter again “con toda” (with everything). ”...

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Related companies: AngloGold Ashanti