Director of Brazil, Nicole Figueiredo de Oliveira, participated in a seminar in the Argentine Senate suspended by a bomb threat.

Our mission started off tense. Organized by and COESUS – Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil (No-Fracking Brazil Coalition), the Misión No Fracking Latinoamérica set off this week to Argentina to exchange experiences about the impacts of fracking with legislators, indigenous Mapuche communities and farmers.

Brazilian congressmen Rasca Rodrigues, Jose Carlos Schiavinatto, Fernando Scanavaca and Marcio Nunes, along with the legislators from the Toledo municipality Tita Furlan and Vagner Delabio, and the Uruguayan senator Carol Aviaga, met yesterday to discuss shared environmental challenges in an event hosted by Senator Pino Solanas, who presides the Environment Commission in the Argentinean Senate.

But in the afternoon the police evacuated the Senate hall where we were meeting. A threatening call alerted them there was a bomb in the room. After the search, they were able to determine it was a false threat.

Our mission is to learn more about fracking in a country where it is already happening, and to see and hear about its impacts on the Argentinean people. Testimonies shared throughout the meeting made it clear that foreign and national oil/gas companies have been using fracking to extract gas that none of these countries need — nor do the companies have social licenses for them.

Water was the main theme discussed, since contamination, scarcity and industrial heavy use are issues all Latin American countries face. The intense use of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals is poisoning whole villages and traditional communities.

As the meeting progressed, it became clearer that with the colossal fossil and mining  projects comes a false democracy, where human and indigenous rights are violated and opposition movements and even legislators are ignored, denied their right to information or protest.

In the evening, an event was held with Latin American thinkers and great names like Alberto Acosta – president of the Constituent process in which Ecuador declared in its law nature as a subject of legal rights  – the scholars Eduardo Gudynas and Maristela Svampa, and important names in the Latin American anti-fracking movement such as Enrique Viale, Juan Pablo Olsson and Juliano Bueno de Araújo. The room was full of Argentinean senators and legislators (23 MPs and 5 senators) interested in hearing more about the alternatives to extractivism, and how together, Latin Americans can build a new agenda. Again, the lack of democracy was evidenced by all the speeches, filled with stories of violations and persecutions.

Right before my speech, the Senate received the bomb threat, and everyone was forced to evacuate the building. One common point among all of us who think, criticize and fight the fossil and mining corporations is that we are not easily silenced, and resistance is in our DNA. So we waited, calmly, in the halls of the Senate while the police swept through the rooms. We didn´t give up, and as soon as we had a green light, we went back and continued discussing climate change, and the clear integration between corruption, oppression and fossil projects.

A video recorded during the situation:

(translation):  “Hi, folks. Everything is ok here. We had to evacuate the building. Everybody is out here.
We are just waiting the building to be cleared.  We hope that we can go back in (to the event). Stay calm.”

See more videos here

After the event was over, I heard from many of Solanas´ security staff that the threat was due to our presence here, and what a threat we – a movement that has already achieved the suspension of fracking exploration activities in Brazil – pose to the establishment of YPF (the Argentine energy company), Petrobras and their respective correspondents in the governments.

Not long ago, just one week after and COESUS stopped a fracking auction in Brazil for almost 20 minutes and made our voices heard by all fossil investors, our office was broken into. Hard drives, computers and pen drives were stolen. A few days later, two bugs were found in our offices, one of them right under my desk. Intelligence agents follow us everywhere, and our hotel rooms are bugged.

I guess that is what happens to activists in a false democracy, where the corporations govern us and the police works for them enforcing the  dictatorship of silence. But we will not be silenced nor will we dim down our struggle for climate justice, democracy, human rights and a fossil free future.

Now we need your help. We need to buy back the stolen equipment and make improvements in the office to make it safer for us, our partners, activists and volunteers. Please donate now.

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