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Colombia's collateral damage

Efforts to end Colombia’s decades-old war were supposed to bring security to the country’s oil sector, but are doing the opposite

Colombian oil producer Hupecol was surprised in April when its environmental licences for a series of exploration wells near the town of La Macarena in the country’s Meta district were suddenly pulled. The environment minister said the decision was a response to local concerns that drilling could pollute a nearby river. But people in the oil industry saw another force at work. Just before the licenses were rescinded, leaders from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebel group negotiating a peace deal with the government to end the country’s long-running civil war said it saw the area as an ideal site for a “concentration zone”—an area to be set aside for them to retreat to an

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