Two oil workers murdered in Arauca

Colombia’s oil workers trade union USO has released a statement condemning the escalation of political violence in Colombia following the murder of one of its members and that of another oilworker in Arauca, northeast Colombia, earlier this week.

On Sunday 21 January, Victor Manuel Barrera, an USO trade unionist for 27 years and employee of COFIPETROL, was killed while accompanying members of the FARC political party from a meeting of voluntary crop substitution programmes. It is believed the FARC activists, who were injured but survived, were the principal targets.

The following day, Wilmer Gustavo Angarita Pedraza was killed while driving between the cities of Cucutá and Tibú. He had spent several years working at the Ecopetrol company before, according to USO, he was ‘unjustly fired’.

In the statement, USO said that the killings ‘increase the uncertainty which exists around the implementation of the Accords between the National Government and the FARC, and encourages the promoters of war to return Colombia to the inhuman armed confrontation which claimed over 300,000 lives and the destruction of social fabric in the Regions’.

USO went on to say that Victor Manuel Barrera was ‘a man very admired in Arauquita, a social warrior and a lover of peace in his Region’ as it offered condolences to the wives and children of both men.