Dawn Paley

Oil, Gas, and Canada-Colombia Free Trade

Posted in Colombia, Uncategorized by dawn on 11/08/2010

Here’s my latest, which I did for the North American Congress on Latin America. This piece is a bit of a follow up on the testimony I gave before the Standing Committee on International Trade shortly before Canadian parliamentarians (with a few exceptions) decided in the name of outdated and oft disproven “facts” about the benefits of “free trade”(but in the interests of transnational corporations, a few of which are mentioned below) that it would be best to go ahead and sign a deal with the most brutal government in South America. Sigh.

Oil, Gas, and Canada-Colombia Free Trade

Aug 11 2010

Canada has been involved in oil and gas in Colombia since the 1920s, when the Canadian-based International Petroleum Corporation (IPC), then a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, owned Tropical Oil and the Andian Pipeline Company. When ownership of these companies was due to revert back to the Colombian state in 1951(concessions at the time were for 30 years), IPC feared that it was going to lose both companies. So the foreign company tricked the Colombian government into believing that Andian was a separate company from Tropical, even though they shared the same parent company. These shenanigans earned Andian National a new concession, who then established its new head office in Canada until the 1970s.

A new free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia and the strong presence of Canadian companies in Colombia’s oil and gas sector indicates that the Colombian government no longer has to be tricked into handing over its natural resources to Canadian corporations. Instead, it will continue to do so willingly, in the name of increasing foreign direct investment. (more…)

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The Canada-Colombia Oil and Gas Connection, Canada and Plan Mexico, and the Toronto Declaration

Posted in Colombia, Honduras, Mining by dawn on 03/07/2010

Hey folks,

I figured I might as well share a couple of pieces I’ve worked on over the past little while.

First, my testimony before the Standing Committee on International Trade on the Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The deal has passed now, and many witnesses including Indigenous Colombians and Afro-Colombians were never given the opportunity to speak. I spoke mostly about Calgary based oil and gas companies and their connection to the politicos pushing the deal. After I gave the testimony, riot police broke up a strike in the south of Colombia, and I adapted it to write this piece. It is an absolute shame that the Canadian government has signed a deal with the Uribe/Santos regime that will likely enable the U.S. government to pass a similar agreement, which will mean more Colombians murdered, disappeared, tortured and displaced for profit.

Second, a talk I gave yesterday evening about Canada’s evolving relationship to Mexico. It touches on Canada’s hypocrisy regarding visas for Mexicans, Felipe Calderón’s recent meetings with Stephen Harper, mining, biofuels, and climate change policy, as well as resistance and our hopes for survival.

Finally, I wrote a quick analysis piece on the Toronto Declaration, the final document of the G-20. If you second guessed why folks were in the streets to resist the G-20, have a look.

Deadly dealings surround Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Posted in Colombia, Uncategorized by dawn on 24/09/2009

Deadly dealings surround Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

By Dawn Paley, This Magazine, July/August 2009

Juan Pablo Ochoa, left, addresses a crowd of cane cutters in Bua, Colombia after a court hearing related to their strike. "What is going on is a frame-up." Photo credit: Dawn Paley.

“You know that here in Colombia, there are many human-rights violations,” says José Oney Valencia Llanos, who earns his living cutting sugar cane in Colombia’s fertile Cauca Valley. “Business people, through multinational and transnational corporations, have violated human rights and attacked workers, directly and indirectly.”

Oney told me this on a humid afternoon in El Placer, a small town in the heart of Colombia’s sugar-cane growing region. Among many of the cutters gathered nearby, there was a tangible sense of nervous apprehension. They had every reason to be nervous: about a month previously, the approximately 12,000 sugar-cane cutters in the Cauca Valley had gone back to work after a historic two-month labour strike. Their working situation, from wages to working conditions, was still tenuous. Oney had been a prominent spokesperson for the workers during the strike, a dangerous role to play in Colombia. (more…)

Working today with the hope of a brighter future

Posted in Colombia, Uncategorized by dawn on 24/09/2009

A story I did for the Vancouver Sun from Colombia last year.

Working today with the hope of a brighter future; Sugar cane cutters and their families find themselves in a constant struggle to survive

Dawn Paley. The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver, B.C.: Dec 26, 2008. pg. B.9

Christmas is a difficult time for the Hernandez family, and this season has been especially tough. Carlos, the family’s breadwinner, is a sugar-cane cutter, whose survival is tied to his ability to work hard and fast under the hot sun and hard rains in Colombia’s fertile Cauca Valley.

Carlos takes home about $250 a month, working a minimum of twelve hours a day, six days a week, cutting sugar cane. His day starts at 4 a.m., and he arrives home sometimes as late as 7 or 8 in the evening. Cane cutters are paid by the tonne, so the amount that Carlos earns each day depends on how much he can cut.

The evening I visited Carlos in the cane fields, he had cut about five tonnes of cane, for which he would eventually take home $16.75. “The cane is very thick, and when it’s thick, it’s difficult to do
the job,” he said. (more…)