Colombia has oil but voters want it to be kept underground
Coffee and fruit growers in the mountains around Arbeláez, a small farming town 35 miles from Bogotá, may have a significant amount of oil wealth under their feet. In July they defied the government and foreign investors and voted to leave it there.
Local referendums, known as “popular consultations” in Colombia, are increasingly being used to block oil and mining projects, causing alarm among companies in those industries. More than 40 such votes are planned, according to the National Hydrocarbons Agency, threatening to paralyze exploration across the Andean nation.