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Colombia is facing a complete energy transition. Thearn South American country wants to move away from coal and gas production and firmly embrace renewable energy sources, primarily wind energy. However, this transition is not without challenges.
Investors are planning the construction of dozens of "wind parks" on the La Guajira peninsula, which will become operational in the coming months and years. With its constant wind, La Guajira seems to be the perfect location for this endeavor.
Approximately 400,000 indigenous Wayuu people inhabit the area, and they are generally less enthusiastic about the plans. Their department is the poorest in Colombia, and La Guajira has been neglected by successive governments for decades.
The Colombian government and the energy companies themselves believe that the Wayuu should seize this opportunity to participate in the modernization process. The arrival of the energy companies could be the perfect lever for development.
'Let us use the wind as a lever to develop La Guajira.'
- Diego Patrón, CEO of Jemeiwaa Ka'I energy company
A Wind of Change demonstrates how energy companies cleverly exploit the poverty in the department. They pit indigenous families against each other with promises of money and material benefits. These promises sow the seeds of inter-community conflicts, often violent in nature. As the economic value of the wind grows, many Wayuu feel like they are getting robbed in their own home.
'We are suffering because of the companies' fault.'
- Norbelis Suarez, indigenous leader of the Girnu clan
But the Wayuu are resilient, as a very recent phenomenon on the peninsula shows…