Corporate militarism on the rise in Colombia

On December 31, 2002, Alfredo Porras Rueda was detained by the Colombian government. In a televised statement hours later, General Jairo Duvan Pineda, commander of the Fifth Division of the Colombian Army, accused Rueda of being a member of the insurgent group Ejercito de Liberación Nacional (ELN).

Rueda worked at Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Bucaramanga, and was President of the local National Food Industry Workers Union (SINALTRAINAL).

On August 31, 2002, Adolfo de Jesus Munera – also a Coca-Cola employee and President of the SINALTRAINAL local in the town of Barranquilla – was murdered. Local law enforcement officials have still not launched an investigation into the case.

SINALTRAINAL has been the victim of a systematic campaign of destruction, which has included: the assassination of 14 union leaders, half of which worked at various Coca-Cola plants; death threats; forced displacements; the incarceration of workers and union leaders on false charges; raids of union offices, cooperatives and union members’ homes; union de-certification; extortion and kidnapping of union members in order to force them to renounce their right to association; and the violation of collective agreements.

In addition, hundreds of workers have been fired from their jobs over the past decade. As a result, SINALTRAINAL has seen its membership decrease by over fifty percent.

The Colombian state has been an accomplice to the actions of the transnational corporations, by neither investigating nor punishing those responsible for carrying out these crimes. It continues to promote policies that heighten terror and poverty via the privatization of public sector companies and the creation of “free-trade” zones.

According to the Colombia trade union confederation, CUT, 148 unionists were killed in Columbia in 2002. Of these, 42 were leaders, including five national union presidents.



Write the Colombian Government and demand that they stop their policies of corporate militarism.

Demand:

* the immediate release of Alfredo Porras Rueda;

* an end to harassment and persecution of workers and union leaders;

* an investigation into Coca-Cola management’s role in the death of Adolfo de Jesus Munera.





Tell your Congressional delegation to not support any military aid to Colombia and say no to Plan Colombia.

President of the Republic of Colombia

Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez

Palacio de Narino

Carrera 8 No. 7-26

Santafe de Bogota, Colombia

auribe@presidencia.gov.co / rdh@presidencia.gov.co





The information here was provided by the Campaign for Labor Rights, www.campaignforlaborrights.org