Today, the Honorable Ron Paul of Texas issued a press release concerning his recent unsuccessful effort to reduce the amount of money (currently $735 million annually) the U.S. sends down to Colombia. Paul cited the usual (and honorable) reasons: drug production continues to soar in Colombia, it's not the business of U.S. taxpayers to help police Columbia, and so forth.
You can read Ron Paul's press release here:
U.S. oil interests in Colombia are spearheaded mostly by the Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum, commonly known as OXY. OXY is a global behemoth, with operations in a number of countries around the world as its 2004 Annual Report to Shareholders incidates:
Occidental Petroleum's Global Operations (2004)
OXY's operations in Colombia are centered mostly around the Caño Limon oilfield, located in the northeastern part of the country, near the Venezuelan border. Its the country's second largest oilfield. Oil from this field is shipped directly to the Carribean port of Coveñas via the Caño Limon pipeline, which was completed in 1986. The pipeline is jointly owned by ECOPETROL and OXY. A Spanish company named Repsol also owns a stake in the Caño Limon oilfield. The crude oil transported through this pipeline represents about a third of Colombia's export income.
Caño Limon Pipeline
You can learn more on this Web site, operated by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization committed to nonviolence and justice:
- In the early 1980s, Colombia only produced about 100,000 barrels a day
- This had rised to about 844,000 barrels a day by 1999
- Colombia may have as much as 20 billion barrels of oil reserves
The most devastating attack came in 2001 at the hands of ELN, and managed to keep the pipeline closed for 266 days:
The Caño Limon pipeline was closed for
266 days in 2001, following an attack by ELN
Like all corporations, OXY writes off such losses by getting the U.S. taxpayer to underwrite its expenses. The company caused a bit of a stir in Washington in 2002 by asking the Bush administration for $98 million to help cover the cost of the damage done to the pipeline in 2001:
NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso Warmly
Embraces FARC Thug Raul Reyes in 1999
Interestingly, Grasso isn't the only captain of American high finance to cozy up to Colombian drug lords. Several months after Grasso's visit, two members of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) flew to Colombia to meet with the founder of FARC, the 70-year-old Manuel Marulanda. After meeting with this drug terrorist, James Kimsey (co-founder and chairman emeritus of AOL) and Joseph Robert (head of the J.E. Robert Company, a global real estate company) flew to Bogota to consult with Colombia president Pastrana.
Colombian Drug Lord Marulanda
So what really is going on in Colombia?