The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Colombia:
Big Companies Finance Death Squads

Mar 19, 2012

The huge oil company Perenco, in Colombia, has been accused of financing paramilitary groups – what are called the “death squads” in Colombia.

One accuser of Perenco presumably knows what he is talking about, as he used to lead another armed group, linked both to the Colombian government and the Colombian drug traffickers. These groups rendered each other such services as eliminating opponents, trade unionists, even political rivals among the politicians. And all of them massacred the Indian population in Colombia if they disrupted their drug trafficking. The death squads are said to have killed 50,000 people.

During the trial of Nestor Vargas, one of these paramilitary thugs, the company Perenco was on the hot seat. Between 2001 and 2005, it financed paramilitaries, giving them 100 barrels of gas each month and 65 to 130 million dollars. Not only is Perenco implicated, so is British Petroleum (BP).

Since 2006, the Colombian justice system claims to be taking apart the paramilitary squads, using confessions from their arrested leaders and even from members of parliament tied to them. Some got sentences of up to 40 years in prison.

But the big companies backing these terrorist paramilitary death squads, whose actions have cost the lives of thousands of unionists, have never been seriously prosecuted. When Chiquita Brands, the banana giant and heir of United Fruit Company, was prosecuted for financing death squads, it simply paid a fine. No legal action has ever been taken against Perenco.

Neither the Colombian government, nor any others, has wanted to take on such “great and honorable” financial backers.