Extractivism in Latin America

“We, the indigenous people of Guaviare (Colombia), are part of nature because we are water, air, earth and life of the environment created by God. Therefore, we ask that the mistreatment and extermination of ‘Mother Earth’ cease. The earth has blood and is bleeding, the multinationals have cut the veins of our ‘Mother Earth’. We want our indigenous cry to be heard by the whole world.”

Instrumentum Laboris of the Vatican Amazon Synod (2019), 17

Many Latin American communities have been heavily affected by companies exploiting natural resources, such as oil, gas, gold, silver, iron, copper, and tin, as well as by other large-scale development projects. The situation continues to deteriorate as extractive activities by transnational corporations increase substantially due to the support of Latin American governments via economic incentives and legal changes. 

Pax Christi International – in support of its Latin American project aimed at accompanying members and partners on the ground – is pushing for the problems created by extractives industries in Latin America (especially by US, Canadian and European companies) to receive higher priority on the human rights, trade and development agendas of the international community and for the voices of the communities most directly affected to be heard. 

For information on the impact of extractivism on the right to water of communities see our 2021 position paper in English and Spanish.

A short video highlighting the struggle for water justice in Latin America in the face of the pandemic and extractivism.