Comment / News Review | By Peter Bolton
Four of Colombia’s sugarcane unions united at a press conference last month to denounce abuses against workers in the sugar industry. Sintrainagro, Sintracatorce, Sintracañazucol and Sinaltrainal met for the first time in years to sign a resolution which set forth common concerns faced by labour activists in the sugar sector and agreed to a set of recommendations and actions for the future.
The document made condemnations of “violence and impunity against union leaders” such as the assassination of Sintrainagro leader Carlos Pérez Muñóz which took place in January of this year. Muñóz’s death has been given as proof that unionist in Colombia are still under considerable risk from targeted violence. Despite a decrease in assassinations of unionists in recent years, Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. The resolution also condemned continued threats against leaders and the failure of the National Protections Union to provide guarantees for their organizations.
Published On: Wed, Jul 31st, 2013 Comment | By Peter Bolton
Pacific Rubiales Energy has over the last decade grown to be the largest independent oil company in South America. A result of a myriad of mergers between different companies, it can trace its presence in Colombia back to 1982 and made big inroads in the country with the 2008 acquisition of Kappa Energy. The Toronto-based oil giant today extracts around 20% of Colombia’s oil and has surpassed BP and Occidental to become the country’s largest extractor of oil behind the state-owned Ecopetrol.
The multinational giant, however, has been mired in controversy over the last few years. In 2011 it was embroiled in a clash with the Colombian government over security (. The company threatened to bring a halt to production unless they were given guarantees over security. Next year in 2012 it was put under investigation for obstructing environmental regulation by failing to provide a environmental compliance report and giving false information to environmental authorities.