Watch an exclusive AQ documentary that looks at how a community grapples with a mining company’s plan to divert a local river. (en Español)
Al otro lado del río: Proyecto de reubicación del Río Ranchería en la provincia de La Guajira, Colombia
In one of the poorest provinces of Colombia, La Guajira, lies one of the country’s most active and more progressive coal mining companies, Cerrejón. In the early 2000s, Cerrejón estimated that 500 million tons of coal were lying under the Río Rancheria, a river bed in the region. Getting it out, though, would require moving an entire river 16 miles (26 kilometers), affecting the Wayúu Indigenous community that lives alongside it and for whom the river is its lifeblood.
This AQ documentary explores this controversial project from the perspectives of various members of the Indigenous Wayúu community and Cerrejón officials, raising questions about the consulta previa process, the environment, royalties, and the role of the government. Filming took place in September 2012, with this project made possible through support from the Ford Foundation.