Victims of the vast Cerrejón mine in the La Guajira region of Colombia are due in Glasgow, Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire this week. The mine, which covers 69,000 hectares, has forcibly displaced farming communities, polluted water supplies and destroyed sacred sites, they say.
“The coal which is used to warm your houses on cold nights is the same coal which has taken our homes from us,” says Rogelio Ustate from the Federation of Communities Displaced by Mining in La Guajira (FECODEMIGUA).
"The coal that comes from Cerrejón is dirty coal, stained by the blood and sweat of the people of La Guajira. In Europe, people enjoy light at the suffering of these communities.”
He alleges that children have died because river water has been contaminated, and that people are dying of thirst while the mine used huge amounts of water. “Coal mining in Colombia has led to the destruction of the social fabric, the loss of ancestral or traditional medicine and the destruction and disappearance of sacred sites," he says.