Colombian petroleum workers union votes against fracking

Published by Brent Patterson on

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The Union of Workers of the Petroleum Industry (Unión Sindical Obrera de la Industria del Petróleo or USO) rejects fracking.

On November 28, Colombia Informa tweeted (and USO retweeted), “Tonight, in #Bucaramanga, overwhelming majority of the National Assembly of the Workers Union @usofrenteobrero voted against fracking.”

The USO’s Twitter page notes that it has “96 years of existence defending public assets, the unity of the working class and labour rights.”

USO’s opposition to fracking has been longstanding. In April 2016, USO also took part in a mobilization in San Martín against fracking.

Now La Republica reports, “ConocoPhillips Colombia plans to invest up to US $100 million in two pilots in Cesar.” That includes the 33,000 hectare VMM-3 block near San Martin in the Middle Magdalena Valley.

ConocoPhillips has previously partnered with CNE Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd., to frack the VMM-3 and VMM-2 blocks.

Reuters has reported, “[The] two shale pilot projects were shelved by licensing authority ANLA after operators US independent ConocoPhillips (80pc stake) and Canada’s Canacol (20pc stake) failed to meet minimum environmental requirements.”

Those two “shelved” projects now look like they could move forward.

Peace Brigades International recently brought Bucaramanga-based human rights defenders Julia Figueroa and Andrea Nocove (CCALCP) and Barrancabermeja-based Ivan Madero (CREDHOS) to Canada to enable them to meet with government officials, lawyers, civil society allies, Members of Parliament, and the public to share their concerns about fracking (which is set to start in Colombia in 2020).

The USO, along with the Unitary Central of Workers of Colombia (CUT), the Confederation of Workers of Colombia (CTC), the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE) are key leaders in the ongoing national strike protests that began on November 21.

On that first national strike day, Peace Brigades International accompanied David Ravelo (a founding member of CREDHOS), the Committee in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (CSPP) and the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation (CCAJAR) as they took part in the mass mobilizations.

Various news reports have now highlighted that a third national strike day has been called for Wednesday December 4.

The work of Peace Brigades International is supported by Unifor Canada. In November 2013, the National Executive Board of Unifor issued this statement supporting a Canada-wide moratorium on unconventional fracking activity.

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