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Death threats against community leader, his family and the union, hacking web sites, stealing computers and records of the hearings of Puerto Gaitan.

Bogotá, 20 July 2013

During the early hours of today, Saturday 20 July, the house of the Brotherhood and Solidarity Network with Colombia (Redher) in Bogotá was attacked. Strangers came into the place and took away computers, sound recorders and cameras used in the organization of the pre-hearing of the Ethical and Political Judgement  of Pacific Rubiales; and of the delegation from Canada- the multinational’s country of origin -that witnessed the complaints by the oilworkers union USO and social organizations in Colombia.

This incident is the culmination of a series of circumstances of extreme gravity, including death threats received after the hearing by community leader and union member Hector Sanchez and his family; to the campaign against USO  and cyber attacks on the websites of the Congress of Peoples, the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee and the news agency Colombia Informa, all of whom made a special monitoring of hearing and previous complaints.


Tuesday: "Our condolences on the loss of your wife and child"

On Tuesday 16 July, just two days after completion of the hearing in Puerto Gaitan, strangers came by night to the home of Hector Sanchez and left on the dining table of the house, a brief prepared with newspaper letters to the following death threat:

“Rest in peace. Juan David and costeña [female from Caribbean coast].

We know every step you take with your family. It's good to get help but it will be of no avail. We also know that you will work do not find a death asshole the same for your wife and your son. Our condolences on the loss of your wife and child. Do not leave then fatherless and widowed and don’t be a widower"

Hector Sanchez had organized community meetings leading up to the full Hearing against Pacific Rubiales.

Threats against a community leader member of USO in Puerto Gaitan (Meta)

18 July 2013

Between 11 and 16 July, a delegation of 17 Canadian civil society and parliament representatives carried out a mission of observation in Colombia, to evaluate the consequences of the intense oil production activities of the Canadian registered Pacific Rubiales Energy(PRE) in Puerto Gaitan, in the province of Meta. The delegation attended the Public Hearing held in Puerto Gaitan  13 and 14 July.

Read more and sign letter on line

Wednesday: "We are going on the offensive against USO"

Alex Ivan Ortiz is a leader of the Electricity Industry Workers Union, UTEN, that seeks to replace USO in the oil companies. The days after the hearing, he announced in the media his union’s good relations with Pacific Rubiales. In an interview with W Radio, he made a direct warning. After referring to national and international reports, Ortiz went further when he declared: "now we are tired of this quiet action on our part, we will go on the offensive against the USO." This is a threat that, given the history of disappearances and killings of leaders of the USO and in the current context of harassment, should be taken into account.

Friday: Cyber attacks, without information

On Friday, the new agency Colombia Reports released a special report with complaints against Pacific Rubiales documented in Puerto Gaitan. The report included an interview with Canadian deputy Amir Khadir, who announced actions in his country against the multinational company.  Pacific Rubiales has strong interests in the Toronto Stock Exchange.


The campaign of solidarity against the threat of death to Hector Sanchez was also spreading, led internationally by the Canadian Foundation PASC, Projet Acompagnemént Solidarité Colombie A few hours after the broadcast of a special report, there was a cyber attack on the news agency’s web site, preventing access to information. Likewise other sites disseminating information were attacked, those of the Congress of Peoples and the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee. The Congress of the Peoples is a convergence space of social movements and unions that promote Ethical and Political Judgment.


Saturday: assault on the Brotherhood and Solidarity Network with Colombia (Redher)

Finally, during the early hours of Saturday the headquarters of Redher was attacked. Redher is one of the international organizations which convened the organization of the hearing with USO, and that housed the Canadian delegation overseeing the process against the multinational. Strangers entered the Redher office and took several desktop and laptop computers, camcorders and recorders of the team who had been conducting research in Puerto Gaitan. The intruders left money in a cash box, as well the credit cards of residents at the office and other documentation, and focussed on stealing any equipment that may contain information or have documented the information collected by the research team referring to complaints against Pacific Rubiales.  


Redher is responsible for much of the organization of final Hearing judging the multinationals to be held on 16, 17 and 18 August in Bogotá, by agreement of the Congress of the Peoples.


The organizations that are part of the Network of Brotherhood and Solidarity with Colombia, Redher denounce this series of events that have a common motivation and a clear objective of intimidation. We demand guarantees for our legitimate exercise as human rights defenders and as social processes. We call on the solidarity of all social movements in Colombia and internationally, and redouble the commitment to move forward amplifying complaints arising from the communities and workers' organizations. We reaffirm that we will go forward with the completion of ETHICAL AND POLITICAL JUDGEMENT AGAINST THE DESPOILATION OF COLOMBIA to be held in Bogotá on 16, 17 and 18 August.

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