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Story Publication logo March 10, 2021

Oil, Coca and Armed Conflict: Threats to the Survival of the Awá People (Spanish)


The Jirijirimo waterfall, on the Yaigojé river, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

The FLARES FROM THE AMAZON project seeks to warn of the increased dangers of deforestation and...

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People gather for a meeting in the Cofanía Jardines de Sucumbíos district, in Ipiales, Nariño, bordering Putumayo.
Territory of the Awá people, in the Cofanía Jardines de Sucumbíos district, in Ipiales, Nariño, bordering Putumayo. Image by Minga Association,

Oil exploitation, the expansion of coca crops, and the control of different illegal armed groups put at risk the survival of the Awá indigenous people, located in the departments of Putumayo and Nariño in southern Colombia.

From the lands of the Ishu Awá reservation, very close to the Colombian Pacific coast in the Cofanía Jardines de Sucumbíos village in Ipiales, Nariño, and bordering Putumayo, where their grandparents arrived 30 years ago and were displaced by the violence derived from the conflict with the guerrillas, speak Awá indigenous leaders Noel Amílcar Chapues Guevara and Julio Ricardo Solarte Ascuntar:

"In our territories, the entry of different people and companies that are exploiting resources such as gold, coltan (black lands), water, oil, and wood is advancing," both warn while recording themselves on video with their cell phones with the hope that their voices will be heard, and more so in these times where the pandemic hits them and isolates them.

Read the full story in Spanish on the El Espectador website.