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In recent years Colombia has become very attractive to multinational corporations, (MCs) particularly those in the mining and oil sectors. Last year alone foreign direct investments (FDI) amounted to about $13 billion, up from roughly 5 billion in 2008. Most of these FDI were in oil and coal and gold mining. Vast lands, including natural reserves, were given as concessions to foreign companies exacerbating chronic land conflicts in various departments. With this rise in investments those conflicts are only expected to increase, violating ever more human, cultural, labor and environmental rights, particularly for indigenous tribes and Afro descendent groups.
There are several severe problems with these FDI. The following are only a few:
Why do decision-makers concede such concessions without weighing the costs and benefits? The answer is not that simple. For one, because MCs exercise more leverage than a state beleaguered by a war, making the country more dependent that ever to mortgage its future to these companies. Second, and perhaps as important, is that the Colombian policy makers are prisoners to an economic policy that will only generate an enclave development, because they lack an overall development policy that factors in two core elements: people’s rights and the environment.