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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
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The Colombia Solidarity Campaign expresses its maximum concern based on the following information that has just arrived from Colombia:

Sunday 2nd May 2004, at 7.30 pm, two explosive devices were detonated in the building belonging to Minercol, at Calle 32 with Carrera 13 in the cente of Bogota, where the headquarters of Sintraminercol the union of workers for the state mining corporation Minercol is located.

The explosive devices were placed in Carrera 13 on the pavement by the Minercol building, on the third floor of which are located the offices of Sintraminercol, and the Workers Cooperative Coominercol the blast shattered Windows and destroyed equipment, files and part of the offices belonging to the Cooperative. It also destroyed offices belonging to the trades unions Asoproteccion Social and Sindiminintrabajo. Neighbouring offices were also affected by the blast.

In spite of the fact that the press has reported it as an attack against the Ministry of Social Protection all the signs indicate that it was directed against the Minercol building. On the first floor are located the Ministry of Social Protections workers Trade union offices, and some offices rented by Minercol to the Ministry of Social Protection, where they can meet with members of the public. It should be noted that a few metres from this buiding is located the CAI building belonging to the National police on Avda 32 between Carreras 7 & 13.

This attack against Sintraminercol has occurred at the same time as the workers are mounting a fight back against the liquidation of Minercol, and the surrendering of mining and petrol resources to the multinationals, and as denouncements by the union, have demonstrated the responsability of the national government and of the multinationals, in the violations of the human rights of workers, small farming communities, afrocolombian communities and the indigneous peoples that inhabit zones rich in natural resources.

Sintraminercol has also denounced the multinationals the Colombian state and the American government for creating paramilitary groups in order to guarantee mining interests, and shown that their lawyers created mining laws, environmental laws, petroleum and telecommunications laws and introduced articles in laws that they have directly benefited from; including the destruction of trade unions belonging to state enterprises, such as Sintraminercol with the liquidation of the state mining company Minercol Ltda. This was done based on article 317 of Law 685 (New Mining Code 2001) and was planned, advised on and regulated by the company lawyers for Holcim, cemex and la Ladrillera Santafe

Coincidentally this attack ocurred the day after a televisión special by ACOTV called World Day of Work, was transmited by the Inravision of Colombia, in which Francisco Ramírez President of Sintraminercol and General Secretary of Funtraenergetica, denounced these events, and the activities of the Colombian labour courts who acting with unusual speed, rushed to lift the legal charters held by Sintraminercol, Sintramin and Sintrcarbon - an indispensable requisite in order to start sacking workers.


On Wednesday 28th April in a public audience convened by the Minister for Mines and Energy, Luis Ernesto Mejia Castro; Trade unionists from USO (oil workers union) and from Sintraminerco protested in order to get their view point heard about the conflicts in the mining and oil sectors, 2 days later Ramiro Luna President of USO Bogota who was the spokesman at the meeting, was sacked.

On Saturday 1st May 2004, 2 men and a women travelling in a white Renault, number plate CBL- 846 of Santafe de Bogota, were watching the union entrance from 9am to 3pm. 1 of the men - a black man wearing a jacket and jeans was watching the union members that participated in the march and in particular Francisco Ramírez President of Sintraminercol. His bodyguards asked a member of the police antiriot squad (ESMAD) to identify the suspects; they established that they were members of ISSPOL, the national police intelligence unit and that they were on an assignment. At approximately 2 pm, 2 taxis arrived each carrying 3 men, and the 3 cars then joined together and waited until the vehicle carrying Francisco Ramírez entered the union headquarters at the 3pm, they then left for an unknown destination.

Throughout 2004 to date, different people have arrived at the union and tried to find Francisco Ramírez, claiming to be displaced people sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Students for the human rights committee of the Industrial union of Santander UIS, or simply friends of Francisco that have an appointment with him, information that upon verification proved to be false.

It is worth remembering that the door of this building (Minercol) is where in 1996 Marcia Elina Romero and Manuel Zamora Secretary of the trade union Sintramineralco and Treasurer of Fenasintrap at the time, were held by unidentified organisations and interrogated about the addresses of Francisco Ramírez Cuellar and Jorge Carlos Maria.

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