Opaque Carbon: Waldrattung and the Bonds of Discord is a collaborative project led by Rutas del Conflicto, in partnership with Mongabay Latam, The League Against Silence and the Latin American Center for Investigative Reporting (CLIP), and supported by the Rainforest Journalism Fund of the Pulitzer Center. CLIP provided additional reporting and editorial support thanks to the support of the Pulitzer Center's Rainforest Investigations Network.
Indigenous leaders and inhabitants of the department of Vaupés tell that, in mid-2019, employees of the company Waldrattung S.A.S., which presents itself as a German multinational dedicated to projects for the sale of carbon credits, gathered dozens of captains from several communities of the Great Resguardo of that department — the second largest resguardo in the country — in the coliseum of Mitú. In Colombia, resguardos are collective territorial entities belonging to Indigenous communities.
There they began to discuss the terms of a possible contract to implement a carbon market project, which would allow them to receive income in exchange for preserving the Amazon rainforest in their Indigenous territory.
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
Whistleblowers and others in possession of sensitive information of public concern can now securely and confidentially share tips, documents, and data with the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network (RIN), its editors, and journalists.
But not all the inhabitants of the resguardo, whom the project would have to involve to see the light of day, were there. Indigenous leaders — who are not necessarily the legal representatives or authorities of the resguardos — told this journalistic alliance that the only thing they heard was what they could hear from outside the coliseum. They insist that they have not seen the contract signed that day by the capitanes — as the leaders of each community are known — with the company, whose representative is the Colombian lawyer Helmuth Gallego. They feel that there is no clarity about the scope of the project.