As I said the other day, I contacted Pacific Rubiales for comment on this story and the company sent me a response Sunday. I am just posting it as I was out in the mountains, away from even telephone contact. With no edits at all, here is what the company sent me. Always best to hear all sides in a situation where some people are being killed and others are being accused.
First and foremost, we would like to thank you for the possibility of commenting the story you referenced in your e-mail. It is important to be very precise with the information to be published, particularly bearing in mind facts pertaining to this case. To this end, please bear in mind the following:
1. Milton Enrique Vivas was a worker in the Cara-Cara Field, which is at least 170km away from PRE’s operations.
2. Cara-Cara is an concession contract for oil and gas production called “Contrato de Asociación” by and between the Spanish Company CEPSA and Ecopetrol.
3. Pacific Rubiales has no participation in this operation.
4. Mr. Vivas was not actively pursuing any union related agenda with pacific Rubiales.
5. The Police Department (Under Col. Jaime Romero, Meta’s Maximum authority) attested a couple of days back stating that Mr. Vivas filed complaints and seeked Police protection from 4 different Union representatives, specifically from USO, having stated that he was under duress and constant threats. source: http://www.noticiasdevillavicencio.com/index.php?id=54&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=8570&cHash=4b505c1165f6a5ee3d91f4489c8661e1
Regarding our official stance and our comment, we would like to state that Pacific has been respectful of the union activities undertaken by the USO with direct and indirect employees at the Fields, particularly when you consider that Pacific has allowed the USO to execute several activities in the Fields, for the promotion and understanding of the freedom of association in the Oil & Gas Sector regardless of the fact that they do not represent any of the Company’s employees at the Field. Any and all allegations stated by the USO regarding discharges, dismissals, excessive work hours and days, precarious housing conditions, and violation to the right of association are not only misleading towards the general public, but we also categorically deny; we would nonetheless be pleased to review any actual support. Regarding CGC and MRS, we would be happy to forward your observations to the specific Company, considering that these are outside the scope of our Management Team.
Also, Boz checks in to remind me that Colombia is no longer the deadliest place in the world to be a unionist, as Venezuela took over the top spot.
And, I am amazed that my report about a Colombian unionist getting killed got a tenth the page views of my off-the-cuff ramblings about possible directions of the Venezuelan oil industry post-Chávez.The Colombia story is more important and includes original reporting that required a trip to a remote part of the world where almost no English language reporters have gone. But I guess I’ve learned an important lesson. You want hits? Make provocative and un-disprovable statements about Venezuela.