A Century of Violence in a Red City: Popular Struggle, Counterinsurgency, and Human Rights in Colombia
Black Gold, Militant Labor
This chapter examines the creation of Barrancabermeja as a foreign-dominated, oil export enclave over the first half of the twentieth century. It analyzes how contests over the command of space, the control of labor, and the accumulation of capital shaped relationships between a foreign oil company, the Colombian state, and rural migrants who sought work in the oil fields. It asks how the creation of a foreign-dominated export enclave concentrated power in the sovereign territory of the nation-state and made possible the extreme exploitation, domination, and subordination of working people. It also asks how the accumulation of working people fueled radical popular struggles that led to the formation of Colombia’s most militant trade union and that eventually contributed to the demise of the enclave.