Two years ago a Colombian judge ordered the release of social leaders criminalized by Canada’s Frontera Energy
Community meeting at La Venturosa, July 1, 2022.
On September 16, 2020, El Nuevo Oriente reported that a judge had ordered the release of social leaders criminalized for protesting the Canadian oil company Frontera Energy’s Cubiro Block operations in San Luis de Palenque, Colombia.
The article further notes: “The release decision was appealed by the Prosecutor’s Office and by the lawyers of Frontera Energy.”
A few days later, El Nuevo Oriente also reported: “[Ferney Salcedo] never imagined that because of this social struggle, he would end up imprisoned, 500 days, without conviction, sent to one of the most fearsome prisons in the country (La Picota) and even affected by the fearsome Covid-19.”
“While he was in prison, his wife, Yulivel Leal, a companion of struggles and vigilance, lived her own ordeal: for the same cause, for being part of a terrorist group and promoting strikes and excesses against the oil company, she was imposed a measure of ‘home’ imprisonment that confined her to a house in Yopal, with her children, where she was also for the last two years.”
That article adds: “Ferney, Yulivel and six other friends and neighbors of the so-called Cubiro Oil Block, which extends through several villages of the border sector of Trinidad and San Luis de Palenque, were captured in November 2018 by an elite unit of military, police and prosecutors who deployed helicopters to remove him and 6 other peasants and businessmen from their farms, in the middle of a lawsuit filed by an employee of the oil company.”
On November 16 and 19, 2018, Frontera Energy signed two agreements with the Ministry of Defence for USD $1.34 million to secure army protection. Just days later, on November 27, 2018, the operation was launched that arrested the eight social leaders.
They are now expected to be back in court on October 3-6 of this year as the criminalization/judicialization process against them continues.
PBI meets with the community
On July 1, 2022, PBI-Canada and PBI-Colombia, along with the Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP) and the Social Corporation for Community Advice and Training (COSPACC), travelled to the San Luis de Palenque to meet with the social leaders and take part in a community meeting at La Venturosa.
We note that the Cubiro block produced, according to the company, 2,410 barrels per day of light and medium crude oil in 2021. The company has reportedly “installed some 20 platforms in the six districts of the municipality” and that the royalties for the company “have totaled some $30 million USD since 2015.”
We further note that in 2021, Canada imported 10,872 barrels of oil per day from Colombia (for a total of about 3.19 million barrels of oil that year). It’s possible that some of the oil being exported to Canada (specifically New Brunswick) comes from the San Luis de Palenque, Casanare operations.
We continue to follow this struggle and hope to be able to hold a webinar featuring some of the social leaders in mid-October, shortly after their upcoming court appearance.