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Canada backs Colombia’s growing embrace of US military

“And Canada? Our government supported the agreement too. Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are Colombia’s third biggest source of foreign investment, operating almost exclusively in remote zones of the country where armed protection is a precondition to profit. The question is, protection from whom? Both Plan Colombia and the new Defense Cooperation Agreement identify FARC as the enemy, a view now echoed from Ottawa: speaking in favor of the Canada-Colombia free trade deal last fall, Liberal MP Scott Brison claimed that “Enbridge [a Canadian energy company] has been recognized for human rights training that it has provided to security personnel which are required to protect its investments and its workers against FARC.”

Unfortunately, the facts don’t support the assumptions. Over the course of Plan Colombia, more than 2.5 million rural Colombians have been displaced; their exodus overlaps neatly with a map of the country’s oil and mineral resources. Yet according to the Colombian government’s own statistics, compiled from testimonies of the displaced, it wasn’t the FARC who kicked most of those campesinos out — it was the paramilitary groups employed by Colombia’s army to improve the country’s investment climate, encouraged by $7 billion from Plan Colombia and counting.

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