When Toronto-based artist-musician Lido Pimienta performed at a Pitchfork stay-at-home concert this past April, she chose to spotlight Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu (Force of Wayúu Women), an organization that is currently raising funds to assist Indigenous Wayúu families in the department of Guajira, Colombia.
Numerous groups including the Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network and MiningWatch Canada have drawn attention to the fact that NB Power has been buying approximately 500,000 tonnes of coal from Cerrejón since the mid 1990s. Nova Scotia Power also imports coal from Cerrejón.
Pitchfork notes: “Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and identifying as Afro-Colombian with Indigenous Wayúu heritage on her mother’s side, Pimienta grew up amidst regional turmoil, ultimately informing her politicized approach.”
The Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC) has also endorsed the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu fundraising campaign.
If you are able to support this effort, please click on this GoFundMe page that is seeking to raise $10,000. The funds raised will help to deliver food to Wayúu families who cannot go to work because of the quarantine.
In terms of additional significant context, The Independent reported earlier this month: “Angelica Ortiz is from a Wayúu indigenous community in La Guajira, northern Colombia. She is part of the local activist group, Fuerza de Mujeres Wayúu, leading protests against mining and agribusiness projects.”
That article in The Independent specifies: “One of the major fights for the group is the coal-mining project El Cerrejon. The largest open-pit coal mine in Latin America diverted water from a stream that the Wayúu indigenous communities relied on for clean water and displaced many communities.”
For a 1-minute Global Witness clip of Ortiz speaking about the threats faced by land and environmental defenders in Colombia, please click here.
You may also want to check out Pimienta’s latest album ‘Miss Colombia.’ Samaritanmag.com highlights: “The new LP deals with the pain that communities of colour and indigenous ancestry have experienced in societies seeded with racism and imperialist attitudes.” Notably, much of it was recorded in San Basilio de Palenque, a community founded by escaped slaves as a refuge in the seventeenth century.
To listen to “Eso Que Tu Haces” from that album, please click here.
And for more on the online fundraiser for the Solidarity Fund for Vulnerable Families in Colombia that Lido has organized, please click here.
Peace Brigades International has accompanied at-risk human rights defenders in Colombia since 1994. Last year, Colombia was the most dangerous country in the world for land and environmental rights defenders. PBI is working with Colombian activists to amplify their concerns about Canadian oil and gas operations in Colombia.
A version of this article was first published by Peace Brigades International.