Colombia oil workers union victim of ‘series of threats’ and attacks

Colombia’s oil workers union said Tuesday that just this month two of its leaders have been attacked while another 11 received death threats.

According to the USO workers union, its leadership received “a series of threats” while regional union leaders in the north and northeast Colombia were physically attacked .

“The worrying thing is that the regional and national authorities, like [state-run oil company] Ecopetrol increasingly assume an attitude of indifference,” said the USO, adding that “what consequently prevails is the indolence and complicit silence.”

The USO said that one leader from the northeastern town of Tame, Arauca and another from the northern city of Cartagena were victims of assassination attempts. In both cases, the vehicles in which they were driving were attacked by hitmen, the union claimed.

Additionally, 11 union leaders from across the country allegedly received death threats in the first weeks of the year.

According to the union, the threats and attacks are happening “across the country, systematically and maintaining similar characteristics.” The USO said some of the threats were signed by neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” and that it suspects the violence is coordinated centrally.

“What is suspicious is that the authorities remain inactive, do not investigate, do not act and assume a simple attitude of complicit and passive observation,” said the USO.

According to the oil workers organization, it has not received any response to complaints about anti-union violence and threats made in 2014 when a total of 150 rights workers, journalists and leftist politicians received death threats.


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