Home » Perspective. Clean energy rush displaces indigenous people in La Guajira

Perspective. Clean energy rush displaces indigenous people in La Guajira

by admin
Perspective.  Clean energy rush displaces indigenous people in La Guajira

AFTER ALMOST a year of forced exile Elba Jusayú returned to the desert of his ancestors and found dozens of craters ready to install windmills. The Wayúu indigenous people wage a quixotic fight against the multinationals that see a renewable energy mine in the extreme north of Colombia.

In 2016, representatives of the Portuguese EDPR and the Italian ENEL asked his family for authorizations to build a wind farm and the road to access another.

The refusal of the Jusayú – until then prosperous ranchers in a rural area of ​​the department of La Guajira – unleashed a campaign of harassment that leaves one dead, several injured and 34 displaced, Elba denounces.

Despite the fear, “I long to return to our community and accompanied, with protection,” this woman in a blue headscarf and yellow dress told AFP.

While the companies build their Beta and Windpeshi projects on indigenous land, the family sleeps outdoors in the courtyard of a public building in the Uribia municipality.

The construction of another 55 parks is advancing in this impoverished area, where electricity and drinking water are scarce.

The Petro government projects the region as a “world capital of green energy.”

But the Indepaz study center denounces that the Wayúu people cede their territory in the midst of “deceit” and “irregular” agreements.

In a country that is supplied by hydroelectric plants, wind energy is exported, but “La Guajira is not going to see a single kilowatt of the energy it produces,” notes Joanna Barney, a researcher at Indepaz.

machete and bullet

The septuagenarian Wayúu leader Moisés Jusayú, Elba’s father, recounts in a criminal complaint against ENEL and ERPD that on February 18, 2018 his nap was interrupted by a machete blow to the temple.

See also  Do you retire from music? Poncho Zuleta published a message that worried his followers

According to his daughter, the pressure from the companies to obtain the permits unleashed a family “tragedy” with the air of a soap opera.

The companies would have offered “riches” to Moisés’s younger brother to try to persuade him and he in turn used his son, the author of the machete blow, as an emissary.

Moisés survived the attack “and, in his own defense, gave (another machete blow) to his nephew, who was left dead,” recalls Elba.

They hospitalized him and when he left, his brother had supplanted him as the indigenous authority of the area to give way to the works.

The family returned to Wimpeshi and built a new ranch, but the threats continued.

In April 2022 several children of Moses were attacked. One of them, Dicto Jusayú, was wounded by a bullet and assures that the perpetrators “were wearing uniforms from the ENEL Green Power company, their faces were covered, there were more than 20 of them.”

Consulted by AFP, ENEL affirms that “in no case have company workers attempted the life of a member of the Wayúu community” and that the land of the Jusayú “is not part of the direct area of ​​influence” of Windpeshi.

EDPR did not respond to AFP.

“New neighbors”

Guajira I’s 14 wind turbines cut through the desert wind with an electric hum. A few meters away, in the ranches of the Wayúu, most of them do not have electricity.

Operated by Isagen – a subsidiary of the Canadian Brookfield – the park has been operating since the beginning of 2022 and is one of two operating in the region.

See also  Naples, the soaring of the bike: Elvira flew for 20 meters, the truth in a video

“We wake up looking at our new neighbors. It’s strange because we always grew up with vegetation,” says Luis Iguarán, a teacher from Lanshalia, the only neighboring community with electricity.

“The greatest impact is for the animals. They can no longer graze because the wind turbines are on those lands,” explains the teacher.

Indepaz recorded a 50% decrease in the area’s goat population during the first five months of operation and warned that the project could “end up with a community that lives from its cattle herd.”


The company did a “prior consultation” with the indigenous people before building the mills and agreed to finance “productive projects” in exchange for using the territory for about 30 years, Barney explains.

Thanks to the agreement, Lanshalia acquired solar panels and receives 20,000 liters of drinking water per month.

The amount is “insufficient” for ten families, claims Iguarán.

Consulted by AFP, the company said it had complied with the terms of the consultation, which has the approval of the local environmental authority.

“We lacked a lot of advice,” we were able to negotiate “better conditions,” laments the professor.

According to Barney, the companies reserve the right to approve or veto indigenous projects and fail to present information in their language, as well as the profits from each park.

“On paper they seem generous: ENEL offers 1,000 million (Colombian pesos) per year”, equivalent to 200,000 dollars.

“But there are 19 communities and each one can have between 40 and 80 people,” that is, about 45,000 pesos a month (9.5 dollars) per person./AFP

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy