125 trade unionists have been assassinated this year up to the beginning of September. This forms part of a broader picture of human rights violations and dirty war against the social movement.
HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER RAIDED
In the night hours of 16 August the third brigade of the national army raided the family home of JESÚS GONZALEZ, the Director of the Human Rights Department of the United Workers Federation of Colombia –CUT. They entered claiming to be searching for subversive propaganda and arms. This act was carried out under the State of Internal Unrest recently imposed by president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, a judicial and political measure which as we have been protesting violates political and democratic rights and is now specifically used to initiate persecution against defenders of human rights and trade union leaders.
GENOCIDE AGAINST SINALTRAINAL
The assassination of trade union leader ADOLFO DE JESÚS MUNERA LÒPEZ, a member of the National Food Industry Workers Union SINALTRAINAL, took place in the city of Barranquilla, Atlántico on 31 August. Our comrade stood out for his hard work in the union movement. He was the Vice President of the Atlántico branch, and he was outstanding in his commitment to the community of his city. Comrade Múnera was raided at his home by members of the Armed Forces on 6th April 1997, and for that reason had to move to different cities to safeguard his life. He was unjustly sacked by Coca Cola. Our friend had initiated a case demanding his re-employment.
BOMBING OF SINTRAEMCALI
The Cali Municipal Corporation Workers Union SINTRAEMCALI was the victim of an assassination attempt on 3 September. This took place at 11am at the Navarro Cellars, which is a plant within the Water, Drains and Sewerage Directorate of EMCALI. The attempt was carried out by a high power bomb that damaged the plant where SINTRAEMCALI members often hold union assemblies. Fortunately this assassination attempt did not claim any victims. But it is important to emphasise that this was an action against the workers and an obvious sign of terror to destabilise the process of saving EMCALI from the government's proposed privatisation, thereby appropriating the corporation from the citizens of Cali.
Furthermore, while the union leaders were trying to ascertain what caused the explosion, they were harassed by an unkown man on a high calibre motorcycle, and who was taking photographs and filming the consequences of this terrorist action.
It is also necessary to denounce a recent recording by paramilitary groups in which they affirmed that they have decided to assassinate Alexander López Maya (former SINTRAEMCALI President and now Congress Representative), Luis Hernández (President of SINTRAEMCALI) and other members of the union's Executive Committee.
UNIVERSITY WORKER MURDERED
On 5 September, in the Municipality of Pamplona, North Santander Department, CESAR GOMEZ, President of the Pamplona branch of SINTRAUNICOL was assassinated. This act was perpetrated at 7:00 in the evening when the comrade was arriving home with his wife. They were tackled by two unknown men who shot CESAR 8 times and left his wife seriously wounded.
DEATH THREAT ON CUT LEADER
On 9 September, at 9:05 a.m. Domingo Tovar, the Director of the CUT’s Organisation Department, received a phone call directly threatening his life. Domingo visited Britain in May 2001 when he met several trade unions and spoke to the annual conference of the Fire Brigades Union.
SEND MESSAGES TO:
with copies to: