Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Colombian mine explosion

“Ana Luz Acosta, a relative of miner Jorge Lara, sheds tears outside La Preciosa mine in Sardinata, northeastern Colombia, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Lara is among 20 miners feared dead after an explosion believed to have been caused by a methane gas buildup rocked the underground coal mine early Wednesday. Methane gas was also believed to be the cause of an explosion at the mine in 2007 that killed 32 miners.” Image and caption, Associated Press.

Most of the coal we burn in Massachusetts – including the coal burned at the Mount Tom power station in Holyoke – comes from Colombia. So we have a very real connection to the miners at La Preciosa coal mine in Sardinata, Colombia, where an explosion has claimed twenty-one lives.

I am trying to identify workers' organizations that we in Massachusetts can work with to support the injured miners and bereaved families. So far I've contacted the United Mineworkers of America, Justice for Colombia, and the Colombian branch of the International Labor Organization. As soon as I have any news I'll post it.

In the meantime, if you know of any other organizations likely to have on-the-ground links to the community near La Preciosa, please tell me ( and I'll help spread the word.

The struggle of the coal-miners of Colombia is intimately bound up with our campaign for climate justice. Let's show some real solidarity.

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