Óscar Sampayo is a Colombian human rights and environmental defender. His fight against oil extraction began in 2013 when the Colombian national oil company EcoPetrol partnered with foreign companies to explore an oil field in the Magdalena Medio region – a much wider operation than that initially communicated by the government. 

Since then, he has been tirelessly fighting against the lies spread by the oil industry, exposing the social, health and environmental consequences of their actions, and the violence of their operations. 

Colombia is the world’s deadliest country for environmental and human rights defenders. Activists face threats, harassment, violence and murder. Three of Óscar’s friends and environmental leaders from the Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking have been killed; others have received death threats and been forced into exile. 

Óscar works with CRY, one of the civil society members of the Alliance. 350.org supports CRY with funding and logistics, with social media and media outreach and content, including a multimedia series of eight podcasts and four videos published in August 2022.

“It was a beautiful series about the several impacts of fracking. And it also helped to bring us hope and optimism, which are such an important part of our fight, together with fierce resistance. It also gave us a chance to connect with the impacted communities at a different level, and bring them with us in this project. It was a truly collaborative initiative – between us, 350.org and local communities – that will have lasting benefits and will keep strengthening our work for a long time.”

In FY23, CRY will continue to pressure the Colombian government to approve the proposed anti-fracking legislation and advocate for the rights of people and communities, and continue to tell their stories. And we will continue to join them! 

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