COLOMBIA--The US claims its $1.3 billion "Plan Colombia" is designed to destroy drugs and "narco-guerrillas,'' but critics warn that "it's also about oil." As retired US Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant Stan Goff explained in Bogota's El Espectador, Plan Colombia's real purpose is "defending the operations of Occidental, British Petroleum and Texas Petroleum and securing control of future Colombian [oil] fields." BP Amoco, Occidental and Houston-based Enron have lobbied Washington to increase military aid to Colombia. (Enron, a major financial backer of the Bush campaign, owns a 375-mile natural gas distribution system in Colombia.) In 2000, Occidental VP Lawrence P. Mariage told Congress that Plan Colombia was needed to "augment security for oil development operations."
Colombia's oil pipelines have been blown up more than 1,000 times since 1986. Report on the Americas claims that Bogota has assigned "a quarter of its army to defending oil installations." Last November, 2,000 government troops were used to escort an Occidental drilling rig through a nonviolent blockade to search for oil on native land occupied by the U'wa people.
© Earth Island Journal, Summer 2001