Petroleum TNCs in Columbia – Death traded for Petrol and Profits

16 August 2007
A packed and hushed audience heard an Indictment handed down on several petroleum transnationals - ECOPETROL, OXY, OXI, REPSOL and BP - at the end of a two day session of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT) held from 3-4 August in Bogota, Colombia.
A packed and hushed audience heard the Indictment handed down on the Petroleum TNCs – ECOPETROL, OXY, OXI, REPSOL British Petroleum (BP), at the end of a two day Session of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) held during August 3-4 in Bogota, Columbia. Petroleum TNCs in Columbia continue to gain profilts of 80% in conditions of totally militarized production. The PPT received a comprehensive documentation of the human rights violations, extraction of natural resources, the destruction of ecosystems, and contamination of the environment, the destruction of the territory and culture of the indigenous peoples (U’wa y Guahiba) and genocide against the communities and social movements in Arauca. In many instances, this extensive documentation was backed up by testimonies from relatives (children, spouses, brothers and sisters) or co-unionists, and neighbours who had seen their loved ones or their co-workers assassinated by forces associated with these Petroleum companies, and the state of Columbia. The crime of genocide was named in the particular case of the massacres of Santo Domingo, La Cabuya, Tame (veredas Flor Amarillo, Piñalito y Cravo Charo), Cravo Norte, Caño Seco, and the murder of the child Hugo Horacio Hurtado y the carrying out of a strategy of criminalisation of the social movement leaders in these areas. The presence and intervention of the US military mediated by Plan Columbia was also documented, as was the institutionalisation of paramilitary forces and the forced evacuation of peasants and indigenous peoples from their lands. Besides the government of Columbia, the governments of the countries of origin of these Petroleum TNCs were indicted with equal responsibility. This Tribunal is one of a series of Hearings which have included Bio-diversity and the AgriFood chain, which have been carried in different regions of Columbia since 2005 under the auspices of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, and which will culminate in October 2008. The cases of REPSOL (Spain) and British Petroleum first presented to the PPT in Vienna in May 2006, will also be presented in a Session of the PPT scheduled in Lima in May 2008, which the Enlazando Alternativas Europe-Latin America bi-regional network in which TNI participates, is preparing.
Brid Brennan of TNI’s Alternative Regionalisms programme attended the PPT Hearing in Bogota.