MAC: Mines and Communities

Political Declaration on the Invesment of Multinational Corporations in Colombia and Against the Eli

Published by MAC on 2004-02-24

Political Declaration on the Invesment of Multinational Corporations in Colombia and Against the Elimination of Minercol

We, the citizens of the world, have been informed by the workers affiliated to Sintraminercol-FUNTRAENERGETICA-CUT of the results of their study, titled Large-Scale Mining in Colombia: The Profits of Extermination, and of the decision of President Alvaro Uribe Vélez to liquidate the State Mining Company of Colombia, Minercol Ltda., through Decree 254 of January 28, 2004.

The Colombian government has expressed that Minercol "is a commercial and industrial state company that is unviable, inefficient, and ever more dependent on the national budget," in contradiction to the affirmation that the Minister of Mines and Energy made just three months ago to the unions, recognizing the economic recovery of the company and stating that the liquidation was a political decision of the Colombian State.

The signatories below have reiterated our concern in numerous occasions about the mandates contained in the Colombian National Development Plan, and particularly about those that violate national sovereignty and attempt, through the politics of paralysis, to give away the exploration, exploitation and administration of mineral, energy, and public resources to the multinational corporations.

The Communitarian State of President Alvaro Uribe Vélez, and its components, which include the policies of Democratic Security, the judicial system reform, the Anti-terrorism Law, the Law of Alternative Punishment, the fiscal reform, the labor reform, and the so-called renovation of public administration, are reproachable legal actions that express the interests of the international financial institutions, negate the social rule of law, and generate more misery and destruction in a country that is demanding a humanitarian settlement to the social and armed conflict and concrete proposals of social investment and wellbeing that would benefit all Colombians.

The proceedings in which the government liquidated the State Mining Company Minercol contain the same kinds of political foundations and legal tricks that were utilized in the liquidation of Telecom; also the same that are being utilized today in the indirect liquidation and privatization of the Municipal Corporation of Cali EMCALI EICE ESP; as well as in the privatization of the Colombian Petroleum Company ECOPETROL, the Social Security Institute ISS, the National Training Service SENA, and the public universities. This is just to name some of the labor conflicts which share common traits: the violation of rights of expression, of collective bargaining, and of unionization; military and paramilitary threats; summary executions; arbitrary detentions; threats; assassination attempts; and even the delivery of the national patrimony to the multinational corporations.

It is clear, that in addition to facilitating the delivery of these resources to big multinational capital, the liquidation of Minercol is a retaliation against SINTRAMINERCOL for having used their right of political opposition and their right to dissent from the politics of the government, for thinking differently and for unmasking the serious crimes that have been hidden below this delivery of mineral resources (including gold, silver, platinum, nickel, emeralds, and coal). More than anything else, this is a reprisal against the union for formulating proposals on mining sector development and on the environment that are contrary to the abandonment of national sovereignty.

In the view of the signatories below, the investigation "Large-Scale Mining in Colombia: The Profits of Extermination" is a rigorous study, based on the common reality that the mining communities confront, and proven with official documents that confirm the responsibility that the Colombian government and multinational mining companies both share in the deterioration in living conditions and in the negation of the fundamental rights of workers in the mining sector and of the people that are located in zones of great natural richness.

As a result, we request that:

The liquidation of Minercol Ltda be immediately revoked.

The Colombian Congress not approve the Law of Alternative Punishment.

The Antiterrorist Law be revoked, being the foundation of the criminalization and penalization of social protest and from which have been constructed inquisitory norms against organized social sectors such as the workers, peasants, indigenous people, Afro-Colombian communities, students, union leaders, and human rights defenders.

We exhort the governments of Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the US to place holds on the bank accounts of the Colombian high public functionaries that have signed mining and oil contracts with multinational corporations.

We demand that the cases of human rights violations and crimes against humanity of workers in the small and medium sized mining sectors that are now languishing in impunity are reopened, are judged, and that the material and intellectual authors are appropriately sanctioned.

We demand that the repression against the communities located in zones of mineral and energy abundance cease and that the attempts to privatize health care, education, and public services also cease.

We demand respect for the rights of free association, union liberty, and collective bargaining, in agreement with pacts and international conventions such as the International Labor Organization Conventions that have been signed and ratified by the Colombian State.

We call on the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations in Colombia and the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan to form a commission of international delegates, NGOs, and Colombian trade unions, to exhaustively investigate the crimes against humanity and war crimes that are being committed in the mining and oil regions, whose findings would become public and provide the basis for juridical actions that will bring reparations to the victims and to society.

We call on the Member States of the European Parliament to form commissions to visit the regions of Colombia rich in minerals and oil, where the peasant, Afro-Colombian, and indigenous communities are being denied their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in order to ensure investment by multinational corporations.

We call on the European Parliament to form a commission that investigates the use and destination of the military aid to Colombia given by Great Britain and Spain. In the studies that have been already developed, there are serious indications that this aid has been directed to areas where companies from these countries develop or will develop mining and energy projects, producing grave violations of human rights.

We call on the socially responsible investment funds to condition their investments in companies with mining and oil projects in Colombia on the strict respect of human, economic, and social rights of the local populations, and to divest their funds from these companies if they are shown to be responsible for these violations.

Finally, as a contribution to the creation of conditions that diminish the tension and polarization that has produced the civil war and social crisis in Colombia, we call upon the Colombian government to design and execute a policy of recuperation of the state industries as an element of the economic development of the country and as a show of good faith before the demands of the national and international community for the imperative necessity of greater respect for the human rights of the Colombian people; and as a consequence of this to revoke Decree 254 of January 28, 2004 and of Resolution 180073 expedited on January 27, 2004, that order the liquidation of Minercol.

Bogotá, February 24, 2004


Estados Unidos

Noam Chomsky - Escritor, Profesor de lingüística, MIT
Aviva Chomsky - Profesora de Historia, Salem State College
Comité por Justicia Social en Colombia, Nueva York, EE. UU
Carol Chomsky - Pensionada
Líndale Knight - Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lynn
Donna Neff - Witness for Pace
Lynn Nadeau - Healthlink
Matt Buchanan - Profesor Salem High School
Heather Cahill - Estudiante Salem State
Susan Connell-Mettauer, Estudiante Salem State
Shaun Hayes - Veterans for Peace



Alirio Uribe Muñoz - Colectivo de Abogados "José Alvear Restrepo"
Agustín Jiménez - Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos
Yesid Plaza Escobar - Sindicato de Trabajadores
de las Entidades Territoriales de los
Departamentos, Distritos, Municipios y
Corregimientos de Colombia SINTRAENTEDDIMCCOL -
Comité Seccional Bugalagrande
Berenice Celeyta Alayón - Asociación para la
Investigación y Acción Social NOMADESC
Ludivia Giraldo Díaz - Asociación para el Desarrollo Social Integral ECATE
Martha Lucía Renteria - Asociación para el Desarrollo Social Integral ECATE
Fernando Ramírez González - Fenasintrap
Yesenia Echavarria Zuleta Sintramin
Corporación Jurídica Alternativa Ciudadana - Héctor Castro Portilla
Ángela Ascencio - Corporación Trabajadores por la Tierra
Heberth Ruiz Ríos - Sindicato de Trabajadores de
la Industria Metalúrgica - Sintrametal Yumbo
Lilia Vargas - Corporación Social para la
Asesoría y Capacitación Comunitaria COS-PAC
Domingo Tovar Arrieta - CUT - Director Oficina de Derechos Humanos
Alexander López Maya - Representante a la Cámara
y miembro de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del
Marcela Pachon y Henry Villegas - Asoingeominas
Mauricio Rubiano - Asociación Iniciativa Juvenil
Iván Cepeda Castro - Fundación "Manuel Cepeda Vargas"
Claudia Girón Ortiz - Fundación "Manuel Cepeda Vargas"

[1] Datos del Banco de datos de Cinep y Justicia y Paz e investigación estadística de
Sintraminercol y Nomadesc.

[2] Cálculos tomados de la base de informes de Codhes, Nomadesc y Sintraminercol.

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