2000 Oak Fellow: Hector Hernan Mondragon Baez
For more than 30 years Mr. Mondragon has worked to secure the environmental, economic and cultural survival of Colombians. His extensive human rights work involves both indigenous and rural peasant communities and the urban poor.
In the late 1980s Mr. Mondragon helped the Nukak, a newly contacted indigenous group, secure one of the largest areas of protected reserve lands in Colombia. Most recently he worked with the Embera Katio tribe, which is resisting a hydroelectric development project that threatens its ancestral lands. In addition, Mr. Mondragon has been a strong supporter of the U’Wa people in northeast Colombia whose ancestral lands are threatened by multinational oil development.
Mr. Mondragon has received numerous death threats for his human rights work. He has served as an advisor to the Indian National Organization of Colombia and the Peasant National Council in Colombia. Both are independent organizations that work with grassroots communities to defend the basic rights and promote the economic, environmental and cultural survival of poor and marginalized groups in Colombia.