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Colombian military forces serving extractive companies

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Based on: www.contagioradio.com

Promoted by Senator Ivan Cepeda, a discussion of political control was held about agreements between companies in the mining and energy sector and armed forces, seeking an answer to the central question: What is the role of the public forces in post-armed conflict?

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"We are facing a privatization of military forces at the service of multinational companies" says Senator Cepeda, adding that "military forces end up being a kind of security service for companies to resolve socio-environmental conflicts or to suppress unionists (...) in case of a peace agreement, these agreements have no reason to exist, unless they are just to repress the communities".

In the last two decades, Colombia has experienced an intensification of the extractive industry which has led to the privatization of public force, violation of human rights and loss of national sovereignty.

According to research conducted by the team of the senator of the Democratic Pole, 20 Special Energy and Road Battalions have been created (BAEEV in Spanish), which must protect energy and mining infrastructure, roads, and hydrocarbons. Also, nine "Centers for Special Operations for the Protection of Critical and Economic Infrastructure of the State" (COPEI, in Spanish) have been created and besides, there are at least 1,229 cooperation agreements between the Armed Forces and several multinationals worth 2,57 billion pesos. According to the Ministry of Defense, it´s about the destination of more than 68.255 people who have to take care of the mining, energy and road infrastructure.

The Consortium Minero Unido - Drummond, Mineros SA, Frondino Gold Mines, Endesa, Pacific Rubiales and El Cerrejon are the six companies that have their own battalion funded with taxes paid by Colombians.

Hidroituango:

The construction of the Hidroituango hydropower by Empresas Públicas de Medellín has affected hundreds of peasants, miners and fishermen; many of these families are also victims of the armed conflict and have been dispossessed of their land on behalf of this megaproject, which has two agreements with the National Police worth 2.839.000.0000 pesos. It has also arranged six treaties with the National Army for 35.361.927.005 pesos.

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Putumayo:

In this region, 100% of the Peasant Reserve Zones are under concession (in the phase of exploration or production) with the companies Ecopetrol, Vetra, Emerald, Gran Tierra, Amerisur, Consorcio Colombia Energy and Pacific, which involves a total of 40 agreements between these companies and the public force, with a total value of 73.566.252.583 pesos, affecting the Peasant Reserve Zone "Perla Amazónica" and the territories of the Nasa people.

Center of Cesar:

In this area of the country we can find the companies Drummond, Colombian Natural Resourses and PRODECO, which have a total of 23 agreements with government forces for a total value of 10,760.000.000 pesos.

It should be remembered that companies such as Drummond and Prodeco are being investigated for links to paramilitary structures. According to the report "The dark side of coal" based on testimonies of paramilitary excomandantes, contractors and former employees, the Dutch organization PAX ensures that both Drummond and Prodeco financed paramilitaries between 1996 and 2006.

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Meta - Pacific Rubiales:

The company Ecopetrol has a total of eight agreements worth 12.677.000.000 pesos and the multinational PACIFIC and METAPETROLEUM (subsidiary of Pacific Rubiales) has 24 contracts worth 79.142.000.000 pesos. The public forces persecuted and threatened social leader Héctor Sánchez, who sued Pacific Rubiales because of contaminating a water source on his land. 

Casanare:

Ecopetrol, BP, Emerald, Equion, Pacific, Petrobras, Petrominerales, among others, have a total of 40 agreements with a total value of 209.488.539.666 pesos. In this region there have been cases of extrajudicial executions. According to information from the Prosecutor´s Office, currently a total of 146 cases that occurred between 1999 and 2007 are being investigated, in which the alleged perpetrators were members of the 16th Brigade of the National Army whose military protected the activities of these companies.

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The above figures were requested to the Ministry of Defense by the team of Senator Iván Cepeda, who claims that he spent a year to get the information, and the Ministry violated all the procedures in order not to give accurate information, which for Senator means that "something smells very bad, they need to hide something". Investigation in Meta, Putumayo, Casanare, Antioquia and Cesar has led to  extrajudicial executions, torture, rape, acts of repression and authoritarianism by several units of the public force

Against this background, the senator asked the Comptroller´s Office to conduct direct control of the implementation of the agreements, and likewise the investigation will be forwarded to the Prosecutor and the Attorney in order for them to forward the relevant investigations, especially those for extrajudicial executions.


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