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16 February, 2018

US corporate invasion in Colombia assassinates unionists in record numbers

... and shows why the neighboring Venezuela should never surrender to the US bloody imperialism


Political killings in Colombia have increased behind the scenes. In 2017 alone, at least 133 social leaders and activists have been murdered. The victims of these killings are most frequently leaders and activists from indigenous rights, coca crop substitution, Afro-Colombian rights, LGBTQ equality, and labor rights.

Some have been killed by state forces, but the majority have been carried out by right-wing paramilitaries which have documented ties to corporations and the Colombian government.

The UN high commissioner for human rights reported than more than 60% of the killings occurred in areas which were once protected by the FARC, which withdrew its military presence under peace agreement.

In the past 20 years, over 2,500 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia. More than in every other country put together. Every year, more union workers will be assassinated here than in the whole world combined.

87% of trade unionist murders are never brought to justice. 99.9% of death threats against trade unionists are never going to be investigated by the authorities.

The government has played a more direct role beyond just turning a blind eye to murders. Most recently, ex-paramilitary commanders testified that under president Uribe, top officials in Colombia's intelligence agency, including Uribe's intelligence chief, supplied paramilitaries with a list of trade unionists who were then assassinated.

The killing of labor activists has a long history in Colombia. In 1928, the United Fruit company, the US, and the Colombian government colluded to massacre up to 3,000 striking banana plantation workers and dumped many of their bodies in the sea.

But the labor movement remained the strongest in Latin America. In 1988, nearly one out of ten workers had a union. But at the same time, right-wing paramilitary forces surged from the US dirty wars, and a campaign of terror took its toll. Today, only about 0.5% of Colombian workers are protected by a union contract.

The US government is a large part of this human rights catastrophe. The free-trade agreement signed between the US and Colombia in 2006, not only exacerbates repressive conditions for unions. It reveals how the US bares legal responsibility.

According to the American Federation of Labor, since the trade agreement was signed, workers attempting to exercise their rights have suffered at least 1,466 acts of violence, including 955 death threats and 99 assassinations between 2006 and 2016.

With this, the Federation had argued that the US should invoke provisions in US-Colombia trade deal. But they were rebuffed by the Obama administration in 2016. As the president of the AFL-CIO reported, "we were told by the [United States Trade Representative] general counsel that murdering a trade unionist doesn’t violate these standards, that perpetuating violence against a trade unionist doesn’t violate these agreements."


Have you heard anything about these crimes in Colombia from the hypocrites of the US government? No, they are just 'concerned' about the 'dictator' Maduro and human rights violations in the neighbouring Venezuela.

Well, their huge hypocrisy can be easily explained.

Now that they got rid of the armed-FARC 'headache', the US corporations are ready to loot freely Colombia with the aid of the new paramilitaries. Furthermore, they can focus entirely on their economic war against Venezuela through Colombia, as explained by Venezuela's Minister of Economic Planning, Ricardo Menéndez.

Colombia has now definitely fallen to the hands of the US imperialist hawks. Next target: Venezuela.

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