Barbados Times

Barbados, Caribbean & World News
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Hostages freed amid deadly energy company protests in Colombia

Hostages freed amid deadly energy company protests in Colombia

Eighty-eight officers and employees have been released after violence broke out against the oil company Emerald Energy.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has announced on Twitter that his ministers successfully negotiated the release of 88 hostages taken during a deadly protest against the oil company Emerald Energy.

“Thanks to the efforts of the ministers of Defense and the Interior, all police members and oil officials retained in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá, have been released,” Petro wrote on Friday.

In a video released to the media, Petro also appealed to the protesters, many of whom hail from Indigenous and rural communities, promising a “dialogue” with them “about their needs, their complaints, their claims”.

“This a government for dialogue, a government that belongs to them,” Petro said in the video.

A total of 88 people had been held captive as part of the protests, which demanded that Emerald Energy provide infrastructure investments and compensation for environmental damage to the surrounding community.

Nine of the initial hostages were oil company employees. The other 79 were police officers.

In addition, two people were killed in the demonstrations: a civilian struck by gunfire and a police officer identified as 39-year-old Ricardo Arley Monroy.

The protests, which began on Thursday, shut down access to an oil field, and video appeared to show demonstrators setting fire to company property.

On Friday, government officials including the defence minister, Iván Velásquez, and interior minister, Alfonso Prada, travelled to San Vicente del Caguán, a municipality in the Colombian Amazon, to meet with protesters.

But in the lead-up to negotiations, Prada announced that a full government dialogue could only occur with the “immediate release” of the captured police officers and the six workers still in custody by Friday morning.

Protesters have called on Emerald Energy to repave roads and improve facilities like schools in the largely rural area surrounding the oil fields.

A spokesperson for the communities involved in the protest told Al Jazeera earlier on Friday that an estimated 4,000 people, from farming and Indigenous communities, had taken part in the protests.

The spokesperson also denied reports that armed groups had infiltrated the demonstrations, calling the rumours an attempt to delegitimise the protesters’ demands.

Prada, the Interior minister, seemed to address those concerns in a statement to local media on Friday.

“We are very careful not to stigmatise or allow the stigmatisation of the peasant social movement in Colombia,” he told journalists. “But we are not foolish enough to think that there can be no factors of disruption that intend to use social mobilisation for their own particular illegal interests.”

Petro is considered the first left-wing president in Colombia’s history following his inauguration last August. His government has approached the country’s nearly six-decades-long internal conflict through a policy of dialogue and negotiations, intending to achieve “total peace”.

Recently, his administration has resumed talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the largest remaining rebel group in the country.

But the protests in San Vicente del Caguán renewed criticism from conservatives that Petro has not taken an aggressive enough approach to end the lawlessness.

On Friday, far-right Senator María Fernanda Cabal denounced Petro’s government on Twitter for showing “indifference” to the families of police officers held hostage by not taking stronger action.

In his video statement on Friday, Petro offered condolences to those harmed in the demonstrations. He also condemned the “violent actions” taken during the protests, calling them counterproductive.

“What they do is destroy the possibility, not only of having a popular, progressive government but of having paths of peace,” Petro said.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Barbados Times
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×