Reporte al Congreso sobre Arauca - 2002 The Real Costs of Pipeline Protection in Colombia: Corporate Welfare with Deadly Consequences

The Real Costs of Pipeline Protection in Colombia: Corporate Welfare with Deadly Consequences

A Witness for Peace Report from Arauca. July 2002


The politically independent human rights group Witness for Peace conducted a thorough on-the-ground study of the potential outcomes of the Bush administration’s proposal to spend $98 million to protect an oil pipeline in Arauca, Colombia. This oil industry resource is half-owned by California-based Occidental Petroleum. The conclusions of Witness for Peace’s research are alarming and should be of concern to all Members of Congress as they consider the 2003 Foreign Aid Appropriations bill

-œ The $98 million aid allocation represents the first step down a slippery slope towards major U.S. military investment in infrastructure protection in Colombia. U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson said the Caño Limón- Coveñas pipeline is just one of more than 300 Colombian infrastructure points of strategic interest for the U.S.[1] How many of these will Congress and U.S. taxpayers be asked to protect?

-œ Fully protecting even just the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline is an impossible task. The Colombian Brigadier General in charge of protecting this pipeline said that he would need a soldier for every three feet of pipeline to provide adequate protection.[2] To prevent bombings that take 2-3 people less than an hour to carry out anywhere along the 478 mile-long pipeline would require a massive increase in funding beyond anything being discussed in Congress

-œ Funding a military with a history of gross human rights violations may implicate the U.S. in further abuses against civilians, and could discourage much needed professionalism. Units and aircraft charged with protecting Caño Limón-Coveñas operations participated in a massacre of 18 innocent civilians and have yet to be held accountable. Witness for Peace documents several allegations of ties between the 18th Brigade, the Police and the right-wing paramilitaries (AUC) in Arauca—in line with the trend of paramilitary-military ties described by the State Department in their annual Report on Human Rights Practices.[3]

-œ Serious allegations that Occidental Petroleum has made illegal payments to State-Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) call U.S. funding into question. Both U.S. and Colombian government officials have alleged that Occidental Petroleum has made payments to FTOs. Congress should demand an investigation into these allegations before providing any aid that could directly benefit this company

-œ US taxpayers would effectively be covering Occidental’s security costs. The U.S. government has successfully lobbied the Colombian government to eliminate a tax that required oil companies operating in Colombia to contribute to their own protection. As a result, Occidental currently pays only 50 cents per barrel in security costs. The Bush administration’s request would require U.S. taxpayers to supplement that with a $3.70 per barrel security subsidy

Protecting the declining Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline is a poor use of taxpayer money. Even if it were possible to protect the pipeline militarily, the Caño Limón-Coveñas oil field is past its prime and yield is rapidly declining, according to industry experts


The United States Congress has begun to debate the 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The Bush administration asked Congress to provide $98 million to the Colombian military to protect the 478- mile-long Caño Limón-Coveñas crude oil pipeline, which has frequently been the target of bombings by guerrilla groups.[4] The pipeline, which is co-owned by Occidental Petroleum and Ecopetrol (the Colombian state-owned oil company), transports oil from the Caño Limón well complex in Colombia’s eastern plains region (near the Venezuelan border) to the port town of Coveñas on Colombia’s Caribbean coast for export

According to the Bush administration, the $98 million requested under the Foreign Military Financing program would go “to protect the vital Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline from…the [guerrilla groups] FARC and the ELN.”[5] In operational terms, the money would be used for training and equipping the newly formed 5th Mobile Brigade of the Colombian Army. According to Anne Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, in addition to training from U.S. military advisors, the Brigade would receive about $60 million worth of helicopters, communications equipment, and intelligence.[6] The 5th Mobile Brigade is scheduled to arrive in Arauca department in August of this year and will operate under the jurisdiction of the Colombian military’s 2nd Division

Witness for Peace Investigations

Since the pipeline protection program was announced, Witness for Peace—a politically independent human rights organization with nearly 20 years of experience in Latin America—has carried out an exhaustive investigation of the implications of this aid. Over a four-month period Witness for Peace has interviewed expert analysts of the Colombian conflict, Colombian oil industry experts, U.S. and Colombian government officials, military and police representatives, and members of the local population. Witness for Peace researchers made four extensive site visits to Arauca in addition to interviews conducted in Bogotá

The Administration’s Rationale According to various U.S.

government sources, this aid is designed to protect a vital part of the Colombian economy. In the pipeline’s first 15 years of operation, it was blown up nearly 900 times. In 2001 alone, the pipeline was bombed 170 times and was unusable for about two-thirds of the year. The estimated lost revenue was $450 million.[7] The Caño Limón field is the second largest producer of oil in Colombia. When the pipeline is blown up it can take days to weeks to repair it and production often must be halted

The Colombian government depends heavily on oil exports—which make up 25% of the country’s total exports—to maintain a positive trade balance.[8] Similarly, the municipal, provincial and national governments depend significantly on income they receive from oil production, either through taxes, royalties or earnings for the Colombian state-owned Ecopetrol oil company. In fact, since oil production began in Caño Limón, royalties have paid for at least 80% of Arauca’s departmental government budget.[9] Furthermore, attacks on the pipeline have left more than 2 million barrels of oil spilled in the jungles and mountains of Colombia, much of which remains to be cleaned up.[10] Nonetheless, exhaustive research has found that the administration’s $98 million proposal would likely solve none of these problems, while creating a host of new ones

How Much Funding Will U.S

TAXPAYERS ULTIMATELY BE ASKED TO PROVIDE? A closer look at infrastructure security needs in Colombia reveals an inexhaustible demand for U.S

assistance. The Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline is neither the most important nor the most strategic pipeline in Colombia; and pipelines are not the only threatened infrastructure. Ambassador Anne Patterson told the Colombian press that there are “more than 300 infrastructure points that are of strategic interest for the United States in Colombia” and that the Bush administration would consider protecting these interests as well after seeing “how things go with this project for Caño Limón- Coveñas.”[11] Patterson’s list of vital infrastructure points likely includes, among others: The Ocensa pipeline, which, like the Caño Limón-Coveñas, runs from the eastern plains to the Caribbean coast, but has three times the capacity of Caño Limón-Coveñas.[12] This pipeline is operated primarily by Ecopetrol, and carries BP/Amoco’s oil, which controls Colombia’s largest oilfield, a 1.5-billion barrel basin called the Cusiana-Cupiagua in Casanare, the department neighboring Arauca.[13]

The Transandino pipeline, which runs through the department of Putumayo and has been bombed numerous times by guerrilla groups operating there. Since the Transandino is wholly owned by Ecopetrol (the Colombian state oil company), its protection would arguably have greater impact on the Colombian economy than would the protection of Caño Limón-Coveñas, which is half owned by private foreign corporations

The national network of gasoline supply lines, which is a popular target for the paramilitary AUC, who robbed and resold millions of gallons of gasoline last year. Estimates suggest that these attacks generate roughly $60 million per year of revenue for the AUC, possibly one of their largest revenue sources.[14] The electrical infrastructure. At least 247 energy towers were attacked in 2001.[15] There were 143 attacks on towers in just the first two months of 2002.[16] Will U.S. taxpayers be asked to pay to protect all of Colombia’s vulnerable strategic infrastructure points or only the ones that most benefit U.S. corporate interests? The Administration has both Congress and U.S. taxpayers on the edge of an abyss. The seemingly small step of appropriating $98 million for one year could easily spiral into billions of dollars to protect other “strategic interests” in the years to come

$98 Million Will Not Protect The Pipeline

While there are “300 strategic infrastructure points” to protect, WFP found that there is widespread doubt that a U.S. military investment and added troops in Arauca would be able to protect even a single one of them, namely the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline

Extensive Protection Already In Place Currently

Arauca, the department with the highest number of pipeline attacks in Colombia, has two battalions from the 18th Brigade protecting oil infrastructure; and an additional battalion has been provided to the 18th Brigade to protect the pipeline until the 5th Mobile Brigade arrives.[17] Currently the 18th Brigade employs a spy-plane with high-tech surveillance equipment from the U.S. company AirScan to monitor activity around the pipeline.[18] The AirScan plane attempts to detect any suspicious activity around the pipeline and call in Air Force and Army units to attack when necessary. Meanwhile more than 1400 counter-guerrilla troops are constantly patrolling the pipeline.[19]

900 Attacks

Nevertheless, in 2001 the pipeline was blown up nearly 100 times in just two municipalities of Arauca,[20] 170 times total, and close to 900 times in 15 years of operation. In recent years, the vast majority of the attacks have been in the plains area of Arauca, an area that allows for relatively quick and easy responses from the Colombian Military

Analysts speculate that at any time the guerrillas could move their attacks to the more secluded and difficult to defend Andean mountain chain.[21]

Protection “Almost Impossible”

There is widespread agreement in Arauca, even among those who stand to profit from this program, that it is simply not possible to protect the pipeline militarily. The Commander of the 18th Brigade told the New York Times that, “To prevent them from blowing up the pipeline is almost impossible.”[22] Would an injection of U.S. military aid to the 5th Mobile Brigade and the 18th Brigade make a difference in protecting the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline? When Witness for Peace posed that question to the Commander of the 18th Brigade his response was, “that is very difficult because it only takes 2 or 3 people to attack the pipeline. It takes them about an hour, once they’ve found an unguarded area, to dig 3-6 feet to reach the buried pipeline, and plant a bomb before disappearing into the jungle. We would need to have a soldier for every three feet of pipeline to keep it from being attacked.”[23] Even a more conservative estimate of providing one soldier for every 100 yards would require more than 80,000 troops, or half the Colombian military.[24] Some escalation of military spending is built into this appropriation, but not on this magnitude

Perhaps of more concern is the exit strategy. If Congress makes this appropriation, it could very well be merely a down payment on a vast expenditure that can never truly protect this fragile and highly vulnerable piece of infrastructure

Guerrillas Change Their Strategy

While there were only 16 attacks against the pipeline in the first four months of this year, a significant decrease from last year, this appears to have less to do with the effectiveness of the military’s protection of the pipeline than with a temporary change in the strategy of the guerrillas. Currently they appear to be investing less time and resources in pipeline attacks. Instead they are focusing on disrupting local governments by forcing local level authorities to resign with death threats. Resignation is the only alternative to exile or violent retribution

Human Rights Implications

The Colombian government and media refer to Arauca, the home of the Caño Limón oil field, as a “Red Zone,” indicating the intense concentration of armed actors. There are 4 guerrilla fronts (the 10th, the 45th and a mobile FARC front; and the Domingo Laín ELN front) and the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia or paramilitaries) Vencedores de Arauca block operating in the department.[25]

Background: Illegal Armed Actors Target Civilian Population

The extensive presence of illegal armed actors has created a dire situation for the citizens of Arauca. In 2001 reportedly 424 people were killed violently, a homicide rate of 125/100,000—22 times greater than the U.S. average.[26] Two members of the Colombian House of Representatives from Arauca were among the victims. Last year the armed actors kidnapped more than 100 people in Arauca.[27] According to governmental statistics, from 1998 to 2001 at least 1415 people were forcibly displaced from their homes and compelled to seek refuge in other parts of the department, the country or in neighboring Venezuela.[28] In June 2002, virtually all government officials in Arauca were threatened by armed actors: FARC guerrillas announced that, if the officials did not resign, they would be declared military targets. Days later, the paramilitary AUC announced that any officials who resigned would become targets of their troops

Early statistics from 2002 suggest that this year will be even more violent for Arauca. In just the first three months of this year, at least 136 people were killed in acts of political violence.[29] From January through April 2002, government officials estimate that at least 885 were forced to flee their homes due to the violence.[30] So far this year, in the municipality of Saravena alone, bombs have blown up the mayor’s office, the City Council, the Attorney General’s office, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s office and at least 25 local businesses and homes.[31] Similarly, bombs in Arauca City, the capital of Arauca, have partially or completely destroyed more than [32] homes and the offices of the governor of Arauca. 32 In the first four months of 2002, two mayors, at least 5 members of municipal city councils, 5 members of the State Assembly and 2 Catholic priests were kidnapped and subsequently released.[33] In June, virtually all government officials in Arauca were threatened by the armed actors: guerrillas from the FARC announced that all seven mayors, all members of the seven City Councils, all members of the State Assembly and all Arauca members of the House of Representatives must resign or they will be declared military targets. Days later, the paramilitary AUC announced that if these public officials resigned they would become targets of their troops.[34]

Disturbing News of Paramilitary-Military Ties in Arauca

An additional component in the already volatile mix of armed actors in the region is the extensive collusion between the Colombian military and the paramilitary AUC, amply documented in the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights Practice for Colombia, 2001.[35] According to a high level official from the Departmental government, this trend has continued in Arauca to this day.[36] An example reported by this official is as follows: on June 28, 2002, university professor and journalist Efraín Alberto Varela Noriega, was stopped by paramilitaries on a road near the capital city of Arauca, just one month after Witness for Peace first interviewed him[37]. This road is heavily patrolled by the Army’s 18th Brigade—it connects the Caño Limon oil field with Arauca City. According to Witness for Peace sources, between the point where the AUC leader Félix Bata and 2 other heavily armed AUC members took Efraín from his car and the point where Efraín’s body was found shortly thereafter, their truck would have to have passed through three permanent 24-hour roadblocks of the Army’s 18th Brigade. The official we spoke to— as well as local residents whose cars are regularly and thoroughly searched at these road blocks— were disturbed to hear that the Army would allow 3 heavily armed men to pass through three of their road blocks unnoticed

Local government officials corroborated the presence of paramilitary roadblocks within a few miles of the Army roadblocks, Despite public denouncements, the army never took action to head off imminent paramilitary atrocities, and at this writing, they still have yet to do so.[38] These same groups assert that since the 3 permanent AUC roadblocks have been established on June 21, 2002, in the area in question, 15 extrajudicial executions have taken place there

Witness for Peace heard further reports of paramilitary-military ties when visiting Arauca’s small town of Cravo Norte in early June of 2002. On March 15th, all of the troops from the 18th Brigade’s 24th Batallion left Cravo Norte and headed for Tame

Four days later, according to government sources, 400 paramilitary troops arrived to Cravo Norte. For the next 41 days, they lived and worked literally next door to 30 police officers at the National Police’s base in town. On April 29th, two days after the AUC troops pulled out of Cravo Norte, the 30th Batallion of the 18th Brigade resumed a presence in the town. According to Arauca government sources, not one bullet was fired between the Army and the AUC.[39] “This clearly suggests that the AUC and public security forces were coordinating their efforts,” said one government official.[40] This is especially serious considering that, according to this same official, at least 8 people were “disappeared” during the AUC’s stay in Cravo Norte.[41] In this context, an increase in military aid from the U.S. would very likely contribute to an expansion of the influence of the AUC, a State Departmentdesignated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), in Arauca. As long as the U.S. continues to support the Colombian Armed Forces—which has a long and brutal history of human rights violations—there is no reason for the Armed Forces to sever their ties to the paramilitary groups, nor to stop them from growing in Arauca

While the paramilitary AUC is responsible for the majority of extra-judicial killings of civilians nationwide and an increasing percentage of human rights violations in Arauca since they began operations in the department in September 2001, the guerrilla groups continue to be the perpetrators of the vast majority of human rights and International Humanitarian Law violations in Arauca. After more than two decades in the region the guerrillas have secured ample revenue sources and a frightening propensity for destruction

Colombian military, u.s. Aid share responsibility

However, it is not only the illegal armed actors that are responsible for the bloodshed in Arauca. The Colombian Armed Forces and, indirectly, U.S. aid and Occidental Petroleum have worsened the suffering for innocent Colombians. In 1998 the Colombian Armed Forces, supported by U.S. antidrug aid and a private U.S. surveillance company with logistical support and equipment from Occidental, bombed the small village of Santo Domingo, killing 18 innocent civilians and wounding more than 20.42 Units and aircraft whose mission was to protect operations in the Caño Limón field and the pipeline were involved in the operation even though the village is more than 30 miles from the pipeline. No one has yet been punished in this case and, in violation of the Leahy Law, Captain César Romero, the pilot of the helicopter that was responsible for the bombing, received training at the Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas while being investigated for this incident. Romero continues to fly combat missions.[43]

Colombians Call For A Nonmilitary Solution

While it is clear that many in Arauca are fed up with guerrilla violence and that some sectors of the population would welcome military aid as an attempt to limit the destructive capacity of these groups, it is simply not true that there is a unified voice coming from the department in support of military aid to protect the pipeline. In Arauca there is widespread concern about a major military contribution from the U.S. government at this time

Voices from sectors as distinct as the Commander of the 18th Brigade, the Commander of the National Police for Arauca, the Government of Arauca, the Bishop of Arauca, Protestant church leaders, peasant and farmer organizations, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous representatives all stated clearly that the solution to Arauca’s problems, including protecting the pipeline, is not simply military. Brigadier General Carlos Lemus Pedraza of the 18th Brigade, for example, said, “The solution cannot only be military. We also need the justice system involved to reduce impunity, oversight to control the corruption so that the money from the oil royalties actually gets to the community, and public works projects.”[44] Others go much further. A high-level representative of the Government of Arauca said, “We have always believed that the solution to our problems is not just more troops, not putting more troops along the pipeline or in the Caño Limón complex…a cost/benefit analysis of the impact of oil production [in Arauca] convinces us that the costs have been greater than the benefits.” When questioned as to how the department would survive financially without oil royalties he responded, “Of course we need an economy here, but we need one that benefits the population. The oil is not eternal, we need to look for alternatives…The people of Arauca would love to have the Caño Limón well and the pipeline taken out of our department because we know that all of our problems—the guerrillas, drug trafficking and the paramilitaries—would follow it.”[45] All the farms that Witness for Peace visited had suffered damage from spilled oil due to guerilla attacks. Yet not one farmer was supportive of U.S. military aid to protect the pipeline

Farmers Living Along The Pipeline Express Fear

The farmers who live along the pipeline are nervous about the impact of U.S. military aid and wish the pipeline did not pass through their farms. “Having the pipeline here has not brought us a single benefit, all it does is bring us problems,” said one farmer

“With all the problems that the pipeline brings, nobody would ever buy these farms,” said another.[46] All the farms that Witness for Peace visited had suffered damage from spilled oil due to guerrilla attacks. Each of the farmers spoke of the problems and threats that resulted from the Army’s presence on their farms. None of them were supportive of the idea of U.S. military aid to protect the pipeline.47 The military’s patrolling of the pipeline has not had a positive impact on these farmers. “The guerrilla comes and blows up the pipeline, causing damage to our farm, and then the military comes and makes things worse. They say that we are guerrillas and threaten us,” said one farmer. “They come to our house and threaten us, they tell us that the paramilitaries are the ones that will come after they’ve left,” said another farmer.[48] In fact, on a stretch of the pipeline where there had not been any paramilitary AUC presence, Witness for Peace found recently-placed AUC graffiti. The owner of the land said that troops from the Colombian Military were responsible for the graffiti—clearly aimed to intimidate the civilian population

Colombian Military Endangers Civilian Lives

The Colombian Military also camps in and around the homes of farmers who live along the pipeline— putting civilian lives at risk. It could easily lead to retaliation by the guerrilla groups and result in the loss of innocent lives if the guerrillas attacked the Army while positioned in and around civilian houses. Every single farmer interviewed mentioned this danger. In fact, during Witness for Peace’s visit to farmers along the pipeline, a company of soldiers was camped at a farmer’s home. When the commanding officer was questioned about whether it was problematic to camp in and around the farmers’ houses he said “no.” He claimed that the farmers invited them in.[49] In fact, the farmers in the area told Witness for Peace that the Army coerced their way onto their farms and into their homes. In many cases they were told by the Army that “only guerrilla supporters don’t let us in.”[50]

Serious Allegations Of Occidental Payments To “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTOs)

According to a variety of sources, guerrillas from both the FARC and ELN receive most of their local funding through extortion and kidnappings. The FARC also reportedly receive local funding through drug production, which is currently relatively smallscale in Arauca, but growing.[51] Sources estimate that approximately 10% of the budget for local governments’ public works projects goes to the guerrilla groups due to intimidation and threats

However, local government is not the only entity making extortion payments. Small, local businesses as well as the oil companies operating in Arauca, including Occidental Petroleum, allegedly pay vacunas—bribes and blackmail payments—to the guerrilla groups.[52] According to investigations done by two Stanford University research fellows, “Since 1986…the country’s guerrilla groups have…generated roughly $140 million per year in ransoms and extortion payments [from oil companies]. In all, the oil revenue rivals conservative estimates of guerrilla earnings from the cocaine and heroin trades.”53

U.S. Embassy and Colombian Officials Confirm Occidental’s Funding of FTOs

Three U.S. Embassy officials in Bogotá confirmed that Occidental has made extortion payments. One told Witness for Peace that in the first years of operation “Occidental gave [the guerrillas] between $1 million and $5 million so that they would not blow up the [Caño Limón-Coveñas] pipeline during construction.”[54] A high-level official from a Colombian government intelligence agency in Arauca said, “Of course there is extortion against the oil companies…they pay. You can ask them and they will say ‘no,’ but we know because we work in the intelligence field.”[55] Occidental sub-contracting firms make extortion payments as well. According to the Commander of the 18th Brigade, which has jurisdiction in Arauca, “Occidental sub-contractors, companies that build roads and prepare drilling areas for them, make extortion payments to the FARC and ELN.”[56] In fact, an Occidental vice-president testifying before Congress admitted this. “Subversive elements have targeted legitimate business enterprises for extortion

Our contractors are forced to pay,” testified Lawrence P. Meriage.[57] Through these payments, Occidental and its subcontractors have been fueling the opposite side of the war that they are asking U.S. taxpayers to support with their hard earned dollars

U.S. Government helps lower corporate taxes, asks taxpayers to compensate

Until 2000, the Colombian Tax Code included a war tax to be paid by foreign oil companies operating in Colombia. The tax required oil companies to pay $1.25 per barrel of oil produced.[58] Over its years of operation in the Caño Limón field, Occidental paid millions of dollars to Colombian security forces for protection. In 1997 alone Occidental paid $17 million in war taxes to the Colombian government.[59] Interestingly, it was the U.S. government, through the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which called for the Colombian government to eliminate this policy. Complaining that the Colombian government “has not taken steps to make [oil operating fields] more profitable to investors,” in 1996 the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative urged Colombia to withdraw the “war tax” because it “acts as an economic disincentive” to foreign investment. The U.S. was successful in its lobbying, and the “war tax” was significantly decreased.[60] Today the U.S. government, after lobbying the Colombian government to remove war taxes on multinational oil corporations, would be calling on U.S. taxpayers to pay them instead. In fact, not only would U.S. citizens be called on to assume Occidental’s security costs, but, in addition, rather than a $1.25 per barrel security tax, the Bush Administration would have U.S. taxpayers pay a $3.70 subsidy for every barrel that Occidental and Ecopetrol produce.[61] Occidental itself pays only 50 cents per barrel for security even though it posted a net income of more than $1.1 billion in 2001. [62]

Past Its Prime: Why Protect An Oil Field That Is Nearing Depletion?

The Caño Limón field is made up of just over 200 wells. While production peaked in the third quarter of 1992 at just over 240,000 barrels/day[63], currently the production capacity is 110,00 barrels/day[64] and production has averaged just under 77,000 barrels/day for the first four months of 2002 (amounting, even if every barrel went to the U.S., to less than one half of one percent of U.S. daily oil consumption).[65] Despite the fact that at the time of its discovery in 1983 the Caño Limón field was the largest in Colombian history and continues to be the country’s second largest oil producer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy it is now “nearing depletion.” If in fact, as Ambassador Patterson says, the U.S. government is considering supporting this pipeline because it “represents an important part of the GNP” of Colombia, there would be wiser investments the U.S. government could make.[66] The pipeline is— by all accounts—“nearing depletion,” which draws into question the efficacy of and strategy behind a $98 million protection project


While carrying out this research, Witness for Peace was told time and time again of the horrors of the conflict in Arauca. Countless local residents told stories of how the violence had taken their brother, husband, son or daughter. The people of Arauca and Colombia are hoping, praying and working for an end to the violence. And, contrary to what the U.S

Congress may have been led to believe, they do not feel that more U.S. military aid is the solution to the Colombian conflict. In a recently published national poll, 65% of Colombians called on President-elect Álvaro Uribe to insist on a negotiated solution to the conflict. 71% of Colombians requested that either the United Nations or the U.S. play a facilitation role for a negotiated solution and supply social and human rights aid, whereas only 14% called for more military aid.[67] In Arauca, Witness for Peace was told by representatives from all sectors that U.S. aid is welcomed, as long as it contributes to legitimate solutions to the department’s problems. They pointed out that military aid is not likely to stop the guerrillas from attacking the pipeline and that more troops along the pipeline will in fact cause more problems and bring more violence. Moreover, the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline is not the most important sector of the Colombian economy; it is nearing depletion. For these reasons, Witness for Peace and its members strongly urge Congress not to support the Bush administration’s appeal for $98 million in the 2003 Foreign Operations appropriations request

Recommendations The lure of simple solutions to complex problems more than once has led to the loss of innocent lives and the misuse of taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, the Bush administration’s proposal to start protecting the Occidental/Ecopetrol pipeline in Arauca would likely do just that. The needs in Colombia are real; the solutions, however, will need to be as complex as the problems

If we want U.S. policy to help bring peace to Colombia, providing military aid is not the appropriate path. The citizens of Arauca are calling for negotiated peace as the only solution. “Military aid will only bring more violence. The path to take is peace negotiations. This dialogue between the different parties must include negotiations about the future of oil exploration and production for Colombia,” explained the Catholic Bishop for Arauca, Rafael Arcadio Bernal Supelano.[68] In the short term it is crucial that the U.S. Congress avoid the temptation to throw away taxpayer money on an ineffective and destructive project of military aid for pipeline protection. U.S. taxpayers want their Congress to be thoughtful stewards of taxpayer dollars

The pipeline protection program also raises serious questions about corporate responsibility and the appropriate relationship between multinational corporations like Occidental and U.S. foreign assistance. After close examination, this pipeline protection program is a clear case of corporate welfare and irresponsible spending, with substantial negative consequences for the people of Colombia

The $98 million protection plan would waste taxpayer money and jeopardize taxpayers’ trust



1. “Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, February 10, 2002 (regresar)

2. Interview with Brigadier General Carlos Lemus Pedraza, Commander of the 18th Brigade, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

3. “Country Report on Human Rights Practices – Colombia, 2001,” State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 4, 2002 (regresar)

4. The Bush administration requested $6 million to “jump start” this project in the 2002 Emergency Supplemental Bill. The House of Representatives approved the $6 million proposal, but the Senate reduced the amount to $3.5 million and placed further stipulations on the money. As of mid-July, the two versions were being debated in conference committee. The Bush administration’s $98 million request under the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill has been reduced to $88 million by the Senate’s Foreign Operations Subcommittee (regresar)

5. Secretary Colin L. Powell, Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, April 24, 2002 (regresar)

6. “Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, February 10, 2002 (regresar)

7. “Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, February 10, 2002 (regresar)

8. National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), “Colombia, Trade Balance,” and DANE, “Colombia, Exports by Economic Sector.” Statistics from 2001 (regresar)

9. Interview with Luis Ramon Lopez Mendoza, Secretary of Planning, Government of Arauca, May 24, 2002 (regresar)

10. Ecopetrol, “Atentados Contra el Sistema Caño Limón-Coveñas.” (regresar)

11“Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, February 10, 2002 (regresar)

12. Ecopetrol, “Red Nacional de Oleoductos.” (regresar)

13. “Oil Rigged in Colombia: The public face of U.S. policy toward Colombia…” Thad Dunning and Leslie Wirpsa (regresar)

14. “El Otro Cartel,” Semana, Number 1050, June 17, 2002 (regresar)

15. “Tiempos de Guerra,” Semana, Number 1035, March 4, 2002 (regresar)

16.. “Marxist guerrillas launch attacks on Colombia’s infrastructure,” Miami Herald, March 5, 2002 (regresar)

17. Interview with commanding officer of a company of the 27th Battalion along the pipeline, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

18. It is interesting to note that until recently, Occidental Petroleum directly contracted and paid AirScan (regresar)

19. Interviews with representatives of the 18th Brigade, June 7, 2002, July 13, 2002 and the 27th Battalion, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

20. Oscar Cañas Fajardo, “Attacks on the Caño Limón—Coveñas Pipeline by Year,” from Ecopetrol Statistics, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

21. Interview with representatives from the Government of Arauca, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

22. Juan Forero, “Colombian Pipeline Goes ‘Boom!’ Local Economies Go Bust,” The New York Times, August 16, 2001 (regresar)

23. Interview with Brigadier General Carlos Lemus Pedraza, Commander of the 18th Brigade, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

24. The numbers used here are arrived at by calculations in the metric system. The Commander said he needs a soldier for each meter of the 770 km long pipeline. A more conservative estimate is generated using numbers from the 18th Brigade’s current strategy of having a company of 90 counter-guerrilla troops patrol every 7 miles (11 km) (regresar)

This would require 6400 soldiers, four times more than the current number of soldiers guarding the pipeline

25. Documentation provided by the Commander of the National Police in Arauca, May 22, 2002 (regresar)

26. Human Rights Report for 2001, Provincial Peace Council, Government of Arauca. In contrast, the average U.S. homicide rate is approximately 5.7/100,000 (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Homicide trends in the U.S.,” January 4, 2001) (regresar)

27. Human Rights Report for 2001, Provincial Peace Council, Government of Arauca (regresar)

28. Documentation provided by Marta Mancilla, interim Director of the Red de Solidaridad Social, Arauca, May 24, 2002 (regresar)

29. Human Rights Report for the first trimester of 2002, Provincial Peace Council, Government of Arauca (regresar)

30. Documentation provided by Marta Mancilla, interim Director of the Red de Solidaridad Social, Arauca, May 24, 2002 (regresar)

31. Interview with Mayor José Trinidad Sierra Sierra of Saravena, June 5, 2002 (regresar)

32. Human Rights Report for the first trimester of 2002, Provincial Peace Council, Government of Arauca (regresar)

33. Ibid (regresar)

34. “Alcaldes, en la Encrucijada,” El Tiempo, June 22, 2002 (regresar)

35. “Country Report on Human Rights Practices – Colombia, 2001,” State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 4, 2002; “’The Sixth Division’: Military-Paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia,” Human Rights Watch, September 2001 (regresar)

36. For security reasons, this official has asked not to be named (regresar)

37. Interview with member of Arauca Departamental Government official, July 21, 2002 (regresar)

38. Ibid (regresar)

39. Interview with Arauca Departmental Government official in Cravo Norte, June 7, 2002 (regresar)

40. Ibid (regresar)

41. Ibid (regresar)

42. T. Christian Miller, “A Colombian Town Caught in a Cross-Fire,” The Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2002; and Witness for Peace interviews with local human rights groups and survivors in Santo Domingo, Arauca, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

43. Ibid (regresar)

44. Interview with Brigadier General Carlos Lemus Pedraza, Commander of the 18th Brigade, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

45. Interview with Luis Ramon Lopez Mendoza, Secretary of Planning, Government of Arauca, May 24, 2002 (regresar)

46. Interviews with farmers living along the pipeline, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

47. Ibid (regresar)

48.Ibid (regresar)

49. Interview with commanding officer of a company of the 27th Battalion along the pipeline, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

50. Interviews with farmers living along the pipeline, June 8, 2002 (regresar)

51. The amount of coca currently cultivated in Arauca is estimated at anywhere between just over 12,000 acres (according to the Interior Minister’s advisor for Arauca) and more than 22,000 acres (according to National Police, Arauca) (regresar)

52. In Colombia extortion payments to the guerrillas are called vacunas (vaccines) because they prevent guerrilla attacks (regresar)

53. Thad Dunning and Leslie Wirpsa, “Oil Rigged,” Resource Center of the Americas, February 1, 2001 (regresar)

54. Interview with U.S. Embassy officials in Bogotá, June 12, 2002 (regresar)

55. Interview with José Antonio Muñoz Lopez, Director of the Arauca office of the Administrative Department of Security, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

56. Interview with Brigadier General Carlos Lemus Pedraza, Commander of the 18th Brigade, May 23, 2002 (regresar)

57. Testimony of Lawrence P. Meriage, Vice President of Occidental, before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources Hearing on Colombia, February 15, 2000 (regresar)

58. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, “1996 National Trade Estimate—Colombia.” (regresar)

59. “Oil Players ‘Must Pay for Their Security in Colombia’,” Upstream, May 13, 1997 (regresar)

60. Office of the United States Trade Representative, “1996 National Trade Estimate.” (regresar)

61. Calculations based on an average production of 76,980 barrels/day for 2002 (average production for first quarter according to Ecopetrol). This calculation offers a moderate estimate of the cost/barrel. If the pipeline were somehow to resume full capacity, the cost/barrel would decrease to $2.80 as the number of barrels increased (using statistics on full production capacity provided by Occidental workers, May 24, 2002). Nonetheless, there is no evidence that $98 million in military aid would get the pipeline anywhere near full capacity. In fact, if the guerrillas stepped up attacks to the 2001 level, the U.S. taxpayer subsidy would be an astounding $5/barrel (using statistics on 2001 attacks from “Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, Feburary 10, 2002) (regresar)

62. Alexei Barrionuevo and Thaddeus Herrick, “Threat of Terror Abroad Isn’t New for Oil Companies Like Occidental,” The Wall Street Journal, New York: February 6, 2002 (regresar)

63. Oscar Cañas Fajardo, “Caño Limón Field Production by Quarter and Year,” from Ecopetrol Statistics (regresar)

64 Interview with Occidental workers, May 24, 2002 (regresar)

65 Ecopetrol, “Estadisticas Volumentricas de la Industria Petrolera, Enero a Abril 2002.” Calculations of percentage of U.S. daily oil consumption derived from statistics (19.5 million barrels consumed/day) in the Bush administration’s National Energy Policy, May 2001 (regresar)

66 “Estados Unidos Protegerá sus Intereses en Colombia,” El Tiempo, February 10, 2002 (regresar)

67 Sergio Gómez Maseri, “Encuesta Pide Diálogos,” El Tiempo, June 25, 2002 (regresar)

68 Interview with Catholic Bishop Rafael Arcadio Bernal Supelano, May, 22, 2002 (regresar)


Afiliado a la Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos
y la Organización Mundial contra la Tortura
Estatus Consultivo en la OEA

José Alvear Restrepo

Nace en Medellín el 1 de julio de 1913 en el seno de una familia de profundas convicciones religiosas y bajo los parámetros de la ideología del partido conservador. Realiza sus estudios en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Antioquia, donde se gradúa de Abogado con una brillante tesis titulada: "Conflictos del trabajo: la huelga"

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