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New Threats to SINTRAINAGRO in Colombia - Government Must Act!

Posted to the IUF website 07-Nov-2006

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The murder of Jesús Marino Mosquera, an activist in the Colombian rural workers' union SINTRAINAGRO who was killed on October 11 while returning home from the farm where he worked in Carepa, has been followed by threats to the lives of two members of the union's national executive. On October 26, masked gunmen entered the Apartadó home of Medardo Cuesta. Cuesta was not at home, but the thugs left behind literature threatening him as well as union leader Oswaldo Cuadrado.

SINTRAINAGRO, UNAC (the agrofood federation to which the union is affiliated) and the national center CUT have denounced these new threats and called on the government to provide all necessary protective measures for SINTRAINAGBRO members and officers.

Colombian unions have good reason to fear a return to the levels of violence which decimated union ranks in the country's northeastern region of Urabá in the 1990s. In 1995, at the height of the violence, 111 union leaders and activists were murdered, almost all of them members of SINTRAINAGRO. Over 430 SINTRAINAGRO members and officers have been killed since the union was founded. Despite the violence, SINTRAINAGRO has succeeded in bringing the entire Colombian banana industry under a single collective agreement, defending and improving working and living conditions through effective collective action.

Impunity opens the door to a resumption of mass violence in Urabá and an escalation of the ongoing war on trade unionists in Colombia. This cannot be allowed.

The IUF has protested these threats of violence to the Colombian government, demanding that all necessary measures of protection be extended to SINTRAINAGRO officers and members. We urge you to send similar messages. Click here to send a message to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez and to the Director of the Presidential Program on Human Rights, with copies to SINTRAINAGRO, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to the IUF.

Click here to send a message to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez and to the Director of the Presidential Program on Human Rights, with copies to SINTRAINAGRO, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and to the IUF.