Coca Cola has hit back at SINALTRAINAL by starting two separate libel cases against union activists.
Prosecutors from the Attorney General office sent a resolution of accusation against several members of the leadership of SINALTRAINAL: LUIS JAVIER CORREA, JORGE HUMBERTO LEAL, JUAN CARLOS GALVIS, LUIS EDUARDO GARCIA, ÁLVARO GONZALEZ, JOSE DOMINGO FLOREZ, and EDGAR ALBERTO PAEZ. Coca Cola are suing the union for libel.
The accusation was sent as part of the legal action by PANAMCO Colombia S.A. and Embotelladora de Santander S.A (bottlers of Coca Cola in Colombia) in response to the lawsuit we brought against them in the Southern Federal District Court in Florida, United States on 20 July, 2001. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal Court of the United States due to the fact that we had exhausted all legal avenues in Colombia, and Coca Cola’s crimes had remained in complete impunity.
The lawyer representing the bottling plants, Dr. JAIME BERNAL CUELLAR, claimed that summary merit has been obtained with the sending of the resolution of accusation against the plaintiffs for the crimes of injury and libel. Paradoxically, Dr. BERNAL CUELLAR was Prosecutor General of the Nation at the time in which several of the crimes were committed. We had requested him to intervene in this situation at the time, but he never responded.
The Fiscalia was unable to implement legal action against the surviving relatives of ISIDRO SEGUNDO GIL their identities being unknown. Isidro Segundo, worker at the Coca Cola plant in Carepa, Antioquia, was assassinated on 5 December, 1996, inside the gates of the plant. His wife ALCIRA DEL CARMEN HERRERA PEREZ, was also assassinated on 18 November, 2000.
Coca Cola is insisting that the Colombian authorities criminalise several of the victims of human rights violations, from which the multinational themselves benefited. The Fiscalia is prosecuting those of us who, at the risk to our own lives are denouncing these grave crimes, while the real responsibility lies with the impunity covering hundreds of crimes against workers.
A second legal case, filed under number 675549-280 has been issued in the Fiscalia (Prosecutors) office. This past 6 August, 2003, the Prosecutors office called LUIS JAVIER CORREA SUAREZ, President of SINALTRAINAL, to make a statement about the events that took place on 5 December, 2002, in front of the gates of Coca Cola, when Coca Cola lawyer was officially sent an invitation to appear at the Popular Tribunal "Hector Daniel Useche Beron" in order to respond to the accusation that the company had benefited from the violation of the human rights of its workers. Coca Cola FEMSA, through its legal representative Dra. Jacqueline Barros, filed a penal lawsuit for the crime of harm committed to the company. Coca Cola is trying to criminalise a new set of workers for the act of having denounced it both nationally and internationally in the courts of the United States.
We ask you to send messages of protest to:
Dr. Luis Camilo Osorio, Fiscal General de la Nación (Attorney General): firstname.lastname@example.org