More trade union deaths in Colombia

The murder of Alberto Luis Pastrana and the attempted murder of teachers union leader Mario Montes de Oca Anaya outside the San Jeroimo hospital in Monteria, Cordoba province, Colombia on 1 October, following closely on the killings of three more Colombian trade unionists gives the tragic lie to the Colombian authorities repeated assurances that trade unionists are now receiving protection and can operate safely. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has protested to the Colombian Embassy,

The Colombian government continues to mount an international PR campaign with shiny factsheets and speaker tours aimed at convincing the world that the Uribe government has overseen a fall in the killing of trade unionists and is offering protection to those who receive death threats. Tragically the grim and raising death toll of men and women who refuse to surrender their basic trade union principles is something that no amount of spin and lies can cover up.

Part of the reason for the increasingly desperate tone of Colombian government propaganda is the need to ensure that the EU signs a free trade agreement with Colombia. The United States and Canada have both put negotiations on hold as a result of human rights abuses it would be a travesty if despite this the EU was to push ahead with an agreement. Please support the campaign to halt the agreement.

Sam Gurney

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