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Note by the translator: this is only an excerpt of the original article, which can be read by clicking on the link below this translated article

The security protocols of the United Nations did not guarantee

the life of Mario Paciolla

52 days have gone by since Mario's death, nothing is clear yet and all the questions regarding the role of Christian Thompson in this issue still have to be answered. Thompson, before working for the United Nations, was employed as a security figure in a project of USAID, the United States Agency for International Development in Colombia, an organization that promotes United States’ foreign policy through interventions in favor of peace and democracy. USAID is considered to be an actor that favors US expansion and interference in Latin America. It is no coincidence that it has been involved in scandals related to the espionage of some Latin American governments.

Thompson also included in his Linkedin profile other security jobs related to private companies such as Fidelity Security Company, with which he guaranteed the resolution of logistic problems to customers in the energy extraction sector, even opposing to projects carried on by local communities, if necessary. Perhaps it is no coincidence that in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, where the only operating oil block in the department of Caquetá is located, are occurring events related to United Nations security and that Thompson, in his activities, has had a role of providing security to energy extraction companies.

The UN Security Officer in San Vicente del Caguán, whose figure is linked to the security for the mining-energy sector (according to the Linkedin profile) is an example of the blend of militarism and extractivism in Colombia, even if this fact is not new because in 2018, according to the "Sword of Honor" war plan, armed battalions have been reported to protect the mining and energy sector which provide security to multinationals by plundering the territories.

The area where Mario Paciolla carried out his job in terms of human rights is a territory rich in hydrocarbons, which is also being exploited by spraying illicit crops with glyphosate herbicide. Map 1 assumes that the polygonal areas for aerial spraying with glyphosate coincide with the areas of influence of the oil blocks assigned by the National Hydrocarbon Agency - ANH - in Caquetá, which are 44, whereas the the blocks assigned to the Macarena Special Management area are 28.

Map 1



Mario had been working in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán and the National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH) assigned 22 oil blocks (map 2) to that specific territory, one of which is currently operative and is called Ombú Capella. This indicates that the area is fertile ground for many legal and illegal interests in terms of sprinkling and mining and energy extraction by militarism and outlaw groups. It is also noted how humanitarian demining has developed in the territory (map 3) which has been directed towards the areas where the oil blocks and glyphosate spraying are located.

Map 2


Map 3


All this leads to think of a systematic plan of demining, spraying, extractivism and government plans aimed at the service of the corporations and not at the service of the Colombian people. Mario carried out his work in a territory with many problems, which stem from the signing of some agreements, and he had many enemies around him. But he, convinced of the practice of human rights, insisted on carrying out his projects in a territory of numerous conflicts. Fear is the common denominator among the inhabitants, the silent institutionality, the extractivist project for deforestation of the Amazon, the desire to remove the inhabitants, the construction of hydroelectric power plants, the exploitation of hydrocarbons, mines, agri-food and green economy projects. The militarization of the area occurred in order to realize these interests, also through the approval by Colombian government of the arrival of the US armed forces located in these territories.

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