Tauramena ­ The shame and the dignity

Friday, March 5, 2010
(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN’s Program Assistant)
           Since January 22, 2010, workers for SAR ENERGY S.A., a contractor working for OCENSA, initiated a protest asking for better salary and labor conditions, and demanding recognition of the town of Tauramena that, little by little, was gaining sympathy in other sectors of the community to the point that great support was generated and great demonstrations of backing for the fairness of its claims occurred.
            These workers have set an example of DIGNITY for themselves and their Casanare community for having initiated a legitimate struggle stating what they want for their group from a particular company. They understood and assumed the challenge not only to make labor rights accessible for all of the workers employed by the petroleum industry in the department, but also to extend the discussion of issues such as the environment, human rights, goods and services and social investment.
            THE EFFORTS of the workers and community during the more than 30 days of strike obligated BP (also working through OCESA) to sit down and negotiate.  This holds great significance and could change what has been a functional practice with only the interests of BP and its contractors in mind.  In the past, the workers have been just another resource to exploit.
            As a Tauramera town, we have a historic challenge and we cannot let up. We, MEN AND WOMEN LONGING FOR JUSTICE THAT WILL NOT LOSE HEART IN THE COMPROMISE OF SOCIAL MOBILIZATION, are called to participate in the discussions at the negotiations.  Now is the moment for the workers and communities to come together in dialogue, with the goal of reaching a communally beneficial conclusion for the population.
            The negotiations should be understood as the final stage of the mobilization. Participants should include all of the sectors of the department of Casanare, and of the country, that declare themselves uncomfortable with the injustice and arbitrariness that put resources that should be rationally used for the collective good at the hands of the commercial tyrants.
            Going along with this course of action, on March 2, 2010 workers and communities met with BP to agree on the agenda, place, setup, participants, work mechanisms, logistics and other practical aspects of the negotiations following the agreement on February 23.
            Nevertheless, it was not possible to approach and reach a consensus on all of the previously mentioned issues because the delegates of BP and OCENSA left the enclosure, unilaterally terminating the meeting. With the same RUDENESS the companies tried to dictate whom the speakers and delegates of the community would be. Without any SHAME, they presented an illegitimate document of attendance signatures, citing it as an act of accord between all parties, when it was never ratified by the community.
            SHAME! They must begin to recognize the representatives of the community and the workers! They must recognize us, after 18 years of exploiting the Department and ignoring the demands of the Casanare community.  They cannot continue mistreating and stepping on the DIGNITY of the inhabitants of this region.
            Recognizing the importance and validity of the work that the Tauramena movement is developing, we must continue, we must unify, and we must organize ourselves.  This will guarantee that we reach our objectives.
            Perhaps we will not see our goal reached if we let the opportunity pass, abandoning the opportunity due to apathy or simple personal or group interests.  There is much at stake.  The ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW SOCIAL RELATIONS AND THE DIGNITY OF THE TOWN is at stake.  Today you must place your confidence in the movement and you must not be disappointed by vain interests.  We cannot continue to indulge the multinational corporations.  It is crucial that you understand that we are reclaiming our universally recognized rights.
            We will meet to construct together the course of action and contents of our demands in the negotiations:
-Tauramenera Community, Workers’ Labor Union –USO-, COSPACC-

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