Colombia: security workers blockade coal mine

Workers from the Sepecol private security firm blocked the rail line leading from the mammoth Cerrejón coal mine in northeastern Colombia's La Guajira region for seven days over a contract dispute, before the company agreed to enter a dialogue over their demands June 26. The workers, who are mainly from the indigenous Wayuu group, launched their protest after the termination of the contract between Sepecol and Colombia's largest coal mining company. According to a company statement, the blockade of the rail line linking the mine to Puerto Bolívar was putting export obligations at risk. In announcing the dialogue, the company agreed to maintain 80% of its 770-strong security force from Sepecol and local firm Vigilancia Guajira. (El Heraldo, Barranquilla, June 28; Colombia Reports, EFE, June 26)