Colombian trade unions announced they plan to sue U.S. multinational Drummond for paying protection money to paramilitary groups that murdered more than 220 people.
Tarsicio Mora, the president of CUT, Colombia’s largest trade union said that the lawsuit will be filed in the next few days.
“The lawsuit is written and we are deciding on which court to submit it to, in the U.S. or in Colombia, whichever provides the best guarantee of judicial impartiality,” Mora said.
The alleged murders were committed in Colombia’s ‘iron corridor’ in the northern departments of Cesar and Magdalena. According to El Espectador the victims were trade unionists, members of social organizations and locals. The murders were allegedly committed by now demobilized paramilitary group the AUC.
According to the lawsuit, the paramilitaries were paid by Drummond to “spread fear in the areas where the company had interests”.
Mora said that the lawsuit seeks compensation for the victims’ families.
The lawsuit is similar to the one filed against Dole Food Co., who allegedly made regular payments for at least a decade in the banana-growing region in the north of Colombia to paramilitary organization AUC.
The plaintiff will be represented by U.S. law firm Conrad & Scherer, which has dealt with previous lawsuits against companies such as Coca Cola and Chiquita in Colombia for crimes against trade unionists and members of social organizations.
Drummond is a coal mining company based in Alabama in the U.S.