Demand Justice for Indigenous Argentinians Affected by Fracking

Target: Gustavo Lopetegui, Secretary of Energy, Ministry of the Treasury of Argentina

Goal: Cease harmful fracking which has harmed indigenous Argentines and the environment.

In recent years Argentina’s national energy company, YPF, has made significant strides in exploiting that country’s abundant natural gas reserves in order to meet the energy needs of Argentines. Great progress has been made in meeting these needs, but it has come at a painful cost for some of the most disadvantaged citizens of the Argentine Republic.

Neuquén Province, in southwestern Argentina, is home to a significant population of the indigenous Mapuche people. These people are known for their long and distinctive history and culture, and their interactions with Argentines of European descent have colored and shaped the country’s history and contributed immeasurably to its culture.

Unfortunately for Neuquén’s Mapuche, they share their home with Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow), one of the world’s largest shale formations, containing astonishing reserves of natural gas and oil which President Mauricio Macri has promised to exploit in order to both resolve the ongoing economic crisis and to turn Argentina, as he promises, into a global energy power.

Critics charge that this is little more than a pipe dream. What is for certain, however, is the effect fracture mining has had on the Mapuche residents of the Neuquén Basin: chemical pollution in water tables, constant explosions and fires from wells and drilling sites, wildly fluctuating temperatures, increased health problems, and livestock born deformed and tormented.

It’s beginning to look very much as though the Macri government is pinning its hopes on a non-renewable energy source with uncertain value or returns, at the expense of the health, lives, and rights of hundreds of thousands of its most disadvantaged citizens.


Dear Secretary Lopetegui,

We urge you not to be tempted by the promise of riches and easy energy at the cost of your own citizens’ rights to safety and happiness. We ask that you work with the Minister of the Treasury, President Macri, Repsol, and YPF to develop more reliable energy sources for the benefit of all Argentines, and to cease the exploitation of land which is home to people who deserve respect and consideration.

We ask that you act with a conscience to suspend the extraction of natural gas in Neuquén Province until more suitable and sustainable alternatives can be developed, and that you and your colleagues in government take action to make amends to the Mapuche people of southwestern Argentina, who continue to pay the price for your government’s unimaginative, destructive, and unhelpful energy policy with their health and safety every day.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: jovengandalf

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