The USW is both disappointed and outraged to learn that the Obama Administration has apparently reached an agreement with Colombia over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The USW has opposed the FTA with Colombia ever since President Bush signed it with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe back in 2007.
The reality on the ground in Colombia has not changed since the agreement was first signed. A record 52 unionists were killed in Colombia last year. Since 1986, only five percent of more than 2,800 union killings have been prosecuted, making impunity the standard for justice in the killings. This year alone, six unionists have been killed in Colombia, including two in the past week, even as the U.S. and Colombia were finalizing their new accord over the FTA.
These two most recent victims, Hector Orozco and Gildardo Garcia of the agricultural union known as Association of Peasant Workers of Tolima, were killed in a heavily militarized zone and were in fact threatened by the official Colombian army just before their killing ... more