Medical students are risking their lives to save protesters in Caracas

CARACAS — A throng of angry protesters in the city’s commercial district dispersed as another teargas grenade penetrated the enraged mass of Venezuelans that were voicing their displeasure with President Nicolas Maduro’s flagging government. Within minutes, a swarm of people wearing white helmets with a green cross on the front pushed through clouds of white fog and chaos to attend to those wounded on the city streets.

Read my article for VICE News.

Colombia’s constitutional court grants rights to the Atrato River and orders the government to clean up its waters

One the many tributaries to the Atrato that snakes through Chocó. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.

CHOCÓ, Colombia – Rivers, forests and its inhabitants are inseparably connected in Colombia’s Chocó department on the country’s northwest coast. The gravity of the contamination that has begun to affect the well-being of the whole aquatic ecosystem and adjacent riverine communities recently got the attention of Colombia’s higher judicial powers.

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Colombia’s indigenous Arhuaco awarded 500 hectares in ongoing bid to regain ancestral lands

Arhuaco children in their village in the heart of the Colombian forest. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.

Valledupar, Colombia – Although the Arhuaco indigenous peoples of Colombia’s coastal mountain range — the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta — are known for their century-long track record of environmental protection, their cultural survival and preservation of the mountain ecosystems are at risk. A new initiative that looks to preserve biodiversity and replant forests under indigenous control could help turn the tide, though.

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Villagers vote to ban ‘La Colosa’ gold mining project in Colombia

The hills near Cajamarca, Colombia. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.

CAJAMARCA, Colombia – Residents of a town in central Colombia sent a clear message on Sunday to the powers that be that they don’t want a large-scale mining operation in their backyard. In an almost unanimous vote of 6,165 of 6,296 voters (about 98 percent), inhabitants of the Colombian municipality of Cajamarca voted against one of the world’s largest planned gold mines. Dubbed La Colosa, the open-pit mine is a project of world’s third largest gold producer, AngloGold Ashanti.

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World Bank exits controversial Angostura goldmine project in Colombian moorland

Black lagoon of Colombia's Santurban moorlands. Photo by Paola Peñaloza via Wikimedia CommonsBlack lagoon of Colombia’s Santurbán moorlands. Photo by Paola Peñaloza via Wikimedia Commons

BOGOTÁ – A four year-old complaint against global mining company Eco Oro Minerals Corp.has resulted in an investigation and divestment from major investors in a regional project in Colombia. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, was pressured to divest from a major mining project in Colombia owned by Eco Oro in December 2016. The Canadian junior mining company has struggled since the 1990s (then named Greystar Resources Limited) to develop its Angostura goldmine that is prospected in Colombia’s Santurbán Páramo – a high altitude wetland ecosystem.

Read my article for Mongabay.