During a Security Council meeting of the military in the second week of April there was a decision made to attempt to try members of the Board of Directors of SINTRAEMCALI trade union for affecting negatively the provision of public services and for defaming flags and patriotic symbols, and also for terrorism.
In the subsequent few weeks two SINTRAEMCALI leaders, LUIS HERNÁNDEZ
MONROY President and ROBINSÓN MASSO observed suspicious vehicles and people travelling on high velocity motorbikes permanently following them, and were forced to move houses.
On 11th April 2002, late at night the porter in the office of Alexander Lopez Maya, ex-president of SINTRAEMCALI and now member of Congress, received a telephone call saying "With bodyguards and everyone we are going to blow up this building." The following morning the secretary of the office received a new call saying "Don’t you understand, we are going to put a bomb there." Due to this the office has remained permanently closed.
On 18th April, the president of NOMADESC and co-ordinator of the Human Rights Department of SINTRAEMCALI BERENICE CELEYTA and a student were followed by a four door White Toyota truck with polarised windows. Several minutes later a motorbike arrived with two men on it. One man entered the restaurant, carrying a small rucksack and sat facing them. They immediately called the Human Rights Co-ordinator of the CUT, and left the premises, managing to lose the people following them.
On 27th April, 2002, the sister of SINTRAEMCALI activist DANIEL VALENCIA
VILLEGAS, worker in the EMCALI Water and Sewerage Plant, received a telephone call where she was asked for Daniel, and when she said he was not there the caller left the following message: "Tell him to stop hanging around with members of the board of directors of the union." Another phone call to his father said "Tell that son of a bitch to leave the union or if not buy a coffin".
Military Intelligence Involved
On 1st May during the International Workers Day march several suspicious people were identified filming and taking photos. The infiltrators attempted to escape and workers prevented them, calling on the police to identify and detain them. The police reaction was violent. Several trade union leaders and human rights defenders were beaten. The worst injuries were inflicted on JES=DAS GONZALEZ, who had serious wounds to the back of his head, a 1.5 cm gash on the top of his head all caused by a wooden police baton. During these events JHON WEINER GONZÁLEZ, bodyguard of Jesús González, was given a death threat by one of the police who said "Remember my face, because you are going to die you son of a bitch", and he was beaten with a wooden police baton in different parts of his body.
On Saturday 18th May 2002 at approximately 11.00pm ORLANDO ARENAS MARIN
was in a public place in the Municipality of Florida when a Yellow Daewoo Taxis arrived carrying 4 armed men. Two of the men entered the establishment and attempted to forcibly take Oscar with them. Oscar attempted to resist and managed to hit one of the men. The man then assassinated him, and upon seeing this another men go out of the taxi and shot him again.
Added to these events are the forced detentions, telephone threats, the sending of death threat letters (sufragios), forced disappearance, physical aggression, and assassinations; which have affected another 50 other workers.
We call on all of you to prevent further human rights violations:
Make statements to the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, the diplomatic corps who have a presence in Colombia, the International Labour Organisation in an attempt to guarantee the human rights of the threatened people and call on the Colombian government to carry out an Immediate Preventative Action to prevent any further attacks.
Demand that the Colombian government and the appropriate authorities provide sufficient and necessary guarantees so that Constitutional Rights, such as the right to life, security, freedom of opinion, information, mobilisation, trade union activity and protest are respected.
Co-ordinate an International delegation made up of International Organisations that can gather information on the situation and the denouncements, and also carry out a process of overseeing the agreements signed on the 29th of January between SINTRAEMCALI, the Cali community and the Colombian Government.
Lobby national and international authorities through letters, statements by organisations and Members of Parliament, but above all, with the presence of a delegation of Canadian, North American and British we could organise meetings with government authorities, both national and regional to demand a peaceful solution to this social conflict.
Demand that the Colombian government carries out an exhaustive investigation to punish those responsible both materially and intellectually for the events outlined above.
Finally, and in line with the evidence that members of the Public Forces are following our members, photographing, filming and threatening workers, as was seen during the 1st May demonstration we hold responsible the Colombian Government for any attempt against the integrity of leaders, trade unionists and human right workers.
National and International Human Rights Campaign Against Corruption, Privatisation and the Criminalisation of Social Protest
SEND MESSAGES OR LETTERS TO:
ANDRÉS PASTRANA ARANGO
Presidente de la República,
Carrera 8 No. 7-26 Palacio de Nariño,
Santa Fe de Bogotá
Fax +(57)1 – 286 74 34 – 286, 68 42 -284 21 86