This story was originally published by Undark and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Luz Ángela Uriana’s voice trembled as she described the Covid-19 situation in her region. “We are really scared,” she said in a phone call. “There are many cases in our neighboring town.” Worried in particular about her son, who has lung issues, she added that she and others “want Cerrejón to stop activities while this illness is around. And the people working in the mine come from elsewhere, that is a risk too. Cerrejón is not protecting us.”
Uriana is an activist and member of the Wayuu, an Indigenous people of northern Colombia and Venezuela. A group of them have called upon the United Nations to intervene in their struggle against the owners of one of the biggest coal mines in the world, called Cerrejón, which is located on the Guajira Peninsula near the Venezuelan border — and smack in the middle of Wayuu ancestral territory. The region has long been wracked by grinding poverty, drought, and, since the advent of large-scale production at Cerrejón, critics say, noxious pollution.
Now, as the global Covid-19 pandemic bears down on Colombia... Read more