PI Briefing | No. 24 | Colombian coal will no longer fuel genocide

Colombia's president has banned coal exports to Israel.
In the Progressive International's 24th Briefing of 2024, we bring you news that Colombia’s President, Gustavo Petro, has banned coal from the country being exported to Israel to fuel its genocidal war on Gaza. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

In ordinary times, Israel imports more than half of its coal from Colombia. That coal powers Israel’s electricity grid, keeping the lights on and the factories working.

But these are not ordinary times. Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The official Israel Twitter account is paying to advertise a post that shows its murderous intent, claiming “there are no innocents” in Gaza.

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro, who also sits on the Council of the Progressive International, has been outspoken in his condemnation of Israel’s crimes and cut diplomatic relations. But the coal ships were still leaving his shores and heading across the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean to Israel.

Despite the cost to Colombia’s economy - coal exports to Israel account for over 5 per cent of the country’s total - Colombians do not want to be complicit in the destruction of Gaza. Petro has announced there will be no more coal until Israel complies with international law, including the orders from the International Court of Justice to withdraw Israeli troops from Gaza.

Colombia’s material intervention into the conflict through withdrawing its energy resources strikes a significant blow against the Israeli war machine. Israel’s grid is now scrambling to find alternative sources of energy.

In the context of this increased pressure, the Global Energy Embargo for Palestine, which worked with the Colombian coal workers union and other popular forces in Colombia to campaign for the coal export ban, is calling on other coal exporters, including South Africa, which currently provides 9 per cent of Israel’s coal, to follow Colombia’s lead.

While the US and its European subordinate states continue to fund and fuel Israel’s genocide, states in the Global South and movements around the world can take action to restrict Israel’s war machine.

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