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Death Threats Against National Leadership of Oil Workers Union, USO

category venezuela / colombia | repression / prisoners | non-anarchist press author Wednesday September 05, 2007 21:46author by UNION SINDICAL OBRERA DE LA INDUSTRIA DEL PETROLEO - USOauthor email usonacional at yahoo dot esauthor address Calle 38 No. 13-37 Oficina 302, Bogotáauthor phone 234 40 74/41 06/43 99 Report this post to the editors

In Colombia, according Alvaro Uribe, the paramilitary groups have demobilised but the reality is that they are even more active from either inside or outside jail.


Our union, Unión Sindical Obrera, (the Oilworkers Union of Colombia) has been the object of written and telephoned death threats against leaders. These are attributed to “Águilas Negras” [the Black Eagles].

Each time the government and state oil corporation Ecopetrol’s management implement privatisation programmes (or give away our resources), the threats increase against the union – as now when the workers reject the decision to sell shares that started on 27August.


1) At 7.45pm on 12 August 2007 comrade EDGAR MOJICA, a member USO’s National Human Rights and Peace Commission, received a call from a male with a marked valluno accent who stated:

“we know the work that you are doing in human rights, especially the denouncements overseas, and if you continue doing this we will go ahead, we know where you are, but especially your family.”

2) On 17 August we received a pamphlet which condemned to death members of USO and other social and political organisations. The text said,

“Whoever stays we’ll burn. Our threats are real the guerrilla of Cartagena continue to believe that it is a game but the death of Manuel López wasn’t an accident. Many more who are on our black list for having links with the Farc or with Bolivarian groups will end up like him as a result of our intelligence work. This work has as its objective the prevention of the appearance of new political forces allied to the guerrilla left in Cartagena. We will elect 80% of the deputies of Bolívar and 70% of the Cartagena council. Many “gay” leaders [sic] have left the city but you sons of bitches that remain will run the same luck as López…….In the same way that since November many sons of bitches have left as a result of our operations together with the military forces….You with your cheap communism have wanted to buy consciences…trade unionist, social leaders, journalistic organisations, democracy observers and student organisations linked to the Cartagena guerrilla are military targets and we know how your and your families’ movements around the city. Sons of bitches, these threats aren’t temporary as many of you think.





3) On Friday 31 August RODOLFO VECINO was threatened in the city of Barrancabermeja via email the transcription of which follows:


We confirm our objectives Rodolfo Vecino. The intelligence carried out in Cartagena, Barranca[bermeja], Arauca, etc., confirms to us that you were lucky in Cartagena in all the opportunities there were to annihilate you but you aren’t going to save yourself this time. For the record you were warned to leave Cartagena and you didn’t. You have continued doing the same thing and now you are fucking with us here in Barranca but we want to warn you that you won’t have the same luck here and in any part of Colombian territory. Don’t underestimate us, your time has come. You are going to leave a widow and four children. Remember when they came for you the mistaken attempt on you wife, you know it was for you. Arseholes, we are going to take you out we know all your movements. We declare you a military target. Neither the guerrilla that look after you nor yourself can save you, whether you have armoured protection or not. Our annihilation plan against all union leader, all guerrilla members, MRGL ,etc. is ready right now. You already have us XXXXX, MALPARIDO Rodolfo with your shit ideas.

We have sufficient military power and intelligence, we remain strong. You have to carry out our orders sons of bitches! You will see very soon what awaits you! There order is ready now!

United Aguilas Negras of Colombia.”

In the face of such serious evidence, the National Directorate and the USO Commission of Peace & Human Rights and the CUT contacted the Home Office, the DAS an the police so that an investigation can be initiated immediately about these threats and so that the lives of Rodolfo Vecino and his family can be guaranteed.


The union has continued a process of struggle and resistance in defence of Ecopetrol, a process that has been harshly repressed by the government of Alvaro Uribe.

During this process, the National Committee of USO has led the workers in their action and presented alternative proposals so that the resources are invested for the majority and in defence of national sovereignty.

The USO has persistently been the victim of human rights violations. For this reason, is the subject of precautionary measures, form the Interamerican Human Rights Commission.

In December 2001 Aury Sara Marrugo was kidnapped and murdered under the framework of the Cartagena Petroleum Forum and that reinitiated systematic and integral persecution of our union – 7 union leaders were sacked in November 2002, in 2003 USO’s name was blocked from the nueva junta de Cartagena union register and two of its national leaders Edgar Mojica and Rodolfo Vecino were threatened. In 2004 15 workers and members of the union sub-directorate were sacked and in March 2005 an attempt was made on the life of Rafael Cabarcas. Later in the same year, between September and October, the children of Rodolfo Vecino were almost kidnapped and a year later an attempt was made on his life. A year after that there was an attempt to kill him and his family. All of the above was linked to the union’s opposition to the sale of the refinery in Cartagena. Over the last 6 years the death threats have been continuous in the city of Cartagena.

Requests and Responsibilities

In the face of the negligence with regard to offering necessary protection in order that we can exercise union activity, we hold the Colombian state responsible for any attempt on the lives of RODOLFO VECINO and his family and any other member of the union directorate.

We demand that the national government and Ecopetrol immediately put in place all the necessary measures to safe guard the lives of EDGAR MOJICA, RODOLFO VECINO and their families, and all the members of the union.

We request that social organisations, trade unions and human rights organisations come out against the threats and take any action necessary to back the protection of those threatened.



Bogotá, 14 August and 1 September 2007.


EDGAR MOJICA recently returned from a tour of England and Scotland. He gave evidence to the Pre-Hearing on BP in Colombia on 23 June 2007 at Strathclyde University in Scotland, presented at Amnesty International Human Rights Centre in London on 30 June as well as a number of regional meetings.

Edgar also joined the national and international commission visting Casanare where BP operates, and presented evidence on behalf of his union to an audince of several hundred at the full Peoples Permanent Tribunal held in Bogotá on 2, 3 and 4 August. He is an enormously knowledgeable, thoughtful and committed comrade who inspired great love and respect during his visit.

These threats should be taken absolutely seriously. The Campaign has just returned from a visit to Barrancabermeja and Bucaramanga where the Black Eagles operate with impunity. In Barranca we met with the distraught families of 11 young people who had just been posted on a Black Eagles list. In Bucaramanga we interviewed two Coca Cola workers in SINALTRAINAL union whose family homes had just been visited and threatened, as has the home of national president JAVIER CORREA.


Please send URGENT ACTION messages to the following: / Favor dirigir las ACCIONES URGENTES a los siguientes correos y direcciones:

Presidencia ECOPETROL S.A.

Dr. Javier Gutierrez Pemberthy

Presidencia de la República
Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez,
Cra. 8 No..7-26, Palacio de Nariño,
Santa fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71

Vicepresidencia de la República

Dr. Francisco Santos

Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos y de Derecho Internacional Humanitario.

Dr. Carlos Franco

Calle 7 N° 5-54

TEL: (+571) 336.03.11 FAX: (+57 1) 337.46.67

E- mail:


Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Representante Permanente de la OIT en Colombia, Dr. Marcelo Castro Fox

Dirección: Av. 82. No. 12-18. Oficina: 504.
Teléfono: 623 75 86. Bogotá D.C.


Procuraduría General de la Nación, Dr. Edgardo José Maya Villazón,

Carrera 5 No. 15-80, Santa Fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+57 1)342.97.23

Fiscalía General de la Nación, Dr. Mario Aguarán
Diagonal 22 B No.52-01, Santa fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+571) 570 20 00

Unidad de Derechos Humanos y de Derecho Internacional Humanitario
E - mail:

Defensoría del Pueblo, Dr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz.
Calle 55 No. 10-32, Santa Fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+571) 640 04 91

Central Unitaria de Trabajadores CUT

Calle 35. No. 7-25 piso 9°

Tel. 3237550. Bogotá


NB Also send to Colombian Embassy in London

and copy to

Andy Higginbottom


Colombia Solidarity Campaign

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