Join Colombia Solidarity Campaign to Protest the Imminent Eviction of Families from Their Village!


15 August 2013

In October 2000, I visited a beautiful Colombian village called Tabaco. It was inhabited by small-scale farmers, mostly of African descent. It was an idyllic little place, with plenty of fruit trees and a crystal clear river running by.

The only problem was that it was next door to an enormous opencast coal mine, El Cerrejon. Dust and blasting were causing problems. Worse was the constant pressure from the company to sell up and go.

I visited Tabaco again the following October. It lay in ruins, people’s houses demolished, their livelihoods wrecked. Remaining villagers were camping out in the school house. On 9 August that year, the mining company had moved in with bulldozers and armed police and security guards to evict the villagers and destroy their homes.

  


Villagers resisting riot police during the Tobaco eviction.

 
Villagers were willing to move, but they wanted to move as a community to new land where they could carry on farming. But their resistance was hurting the company’s profits.

At that time, half the mine was owned by US oil company Exxon. Three massive multinational mining companies – Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore – owned the other half. Once the destruction of Tabaco was conveniently completed, they took control of the whole mine. They are all now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

How they lamented the “legacy issue” of the outrageous treatment of the people of Tabaco! Of course, this kind of thing would never happen again!

                                 

Villagers from Tobaco standing in the ruins of their house.


But now the mine and the Colombian courts are threatening to evict indigenous and afro-descendent villagers at another village, Roche, on Thursday 29 August. The company has already bullied many villagers into moving to an urban site which is no good for those who want to carry on farming or keeping cattle. The families who remain in the old village are holding out for an agreement that would compensate them for what they have suffered over the past few years as mining has come ever closer to their homes, and move them to a site big enough for them to carry on their agricultural way of life.

I don’t want the same thing to happen at Roche as happened at Tabaco. The eviction has to be stopped. Colombia Solidarity Campaign is organising a protest on Tuesday 27 August. We’re going to visit the London offices of the three mining multinationals and tell them to stop. Please join us!

Richard Solly, Colombia Solidarity Campaign.

Tags:

Blog

The story behind Monsanto’s malicious monopolies in India


29 September 2016

India’s countryside has been marred with tragedy over the past twenty years with nearly 300,000 farmers committing suicide.  A staggering 60,000 of these tragic deaths have taken place in the state of Maharashtra, located in India’s ‘cotton-belt.’

Labour is now opposing toxic trade deals, but what sort of trade do we want?


28 September 2016

Trade is always about power. That’s why, in post-Brexit Britain, our trading relationships will be the most important question we face. These relationships will in effect embed our new constitution, detailing how we approach issues like immigration, food policy, finance and public services.

TTIP may be dead, but we’re still facing TTIP by the back door


28 September 2016

The architects of the current wave of trade deals have embarked on a desperate ploy to salvage something from the death of their flagship treaty. Sacrificing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP in order to get CETA (the close relation of TTIP, a deal between the EU and Canada) agreed was always going to be a risky strategy.