Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Interview: League of Nations
Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
Organising: On The Buses
Unions: National Focus
History: The Banner Room
International: The Slaughter Continues
Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Culture: Singing For The People
Review: The Hours
Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
The Locker Room
Re-considering The Accord
Strangers in the House
Nursing Home Concerns
The Slaughter Continues
Also, a number of union organisers have been unrightfully detained. - President Uribe is to blame, says the CUT.
DEMOCRATIC SECURITY CONTINUES TO HIT THE WORKERS AND THE PEOPLE M
TO DATE ON 26 FEBRUARY 2003 NINE TRADE UNIONISTS HAVE BEEN ASSASSINATED THIS YEAR - THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALVARO URIBE, PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA
The Central Trade union Federation of Colombia (CUT), through its human rights department, once more denounces before the world the onslaught against the trade union movement and especially against unions affiliated to the CUT. We ask that any person in receipt of this communication distributes it and at the same time sends messages of protest to the Colombian government for its responsibility as a State for these acts.
On 20 February 2003, on the road from Alban to Bituima, JUAN ANTONIO BOHORQUEZ MEDINA of the trade union executive for the municipality of Bituima, affiliate of FECODE-CUT and who worked in the municipality of Alban, Cundinamarca, was kidnapped. Three days later his body was found. He had been horribly murdered in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Alban.
On 21 February 2003 at 7:30pm, FREDY PERILLA MONTOYA, a worker for the EMCALI Telephone Company (EICE) and SINTRAEMCALI activist, was intercepted by individuals travelling in a white van with polarised windows. They tried to force the comrade to get into the vehicle. He resisted and struggled with them and when they saw they were not going to succeed in taking him with them, they shot him six times and fled.
RAIDS AND DETENTIONS
On Wednesday 19 February 2003, in the night, the home of comrade RAFAEL PALENCIA FERNANDEZ was raided. He is an active member of the workers union, SINTRAMINTRABAJO which had been taking legal action on behalf of the freight workers against the transnational Coca Cola.
At present the comrade is in detention in the cells of the SIJIN in Cartagena, accused of supposedly belonging to the urban militias of the insurgency and of possibly planning terrorist acts in the city to coincide with the Businessmen's Congress with President Uribe on 20 and 21 February 2003. However, according to our comrade he is the victim of a vile montage by the forces of the State.
On the same night of 19 February 2003, the home of teaching comrade, affiliated to FECODE, SAMUEL REYES, was raided. He was a victim of the same montage as comrade Palencia.
On 22 February 2003. members of the secret police, detained in suspicious and inconsiderate circumstances, in the city of Manzinales, comrade ROBINSON BELTRAN HERRERA, President of the Workers Union at the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Atlantic Coast, Otrora Corelca - SINTRAELECO CORELCA.
According to the secret police, they were notified of an order to capture the comrade by the Catagena Public Prosecutor's Office, which they carried out immediately.
On 17 February at around 11:30am, a letter posted to the Colombian Association of Graphic Reporters arrived which contained threats against the president of the trade union, GLADYA BARAJAS and her family.
On Thursday 20 February, at 1:10pm, when the trade union leader and civic leader, ELBER ALBERTO GRANJA, former president of SINTRAMUNICIPIO YUMBO, and currently president of the Communal Action Committee for the Municipality of Vijes, Valle del Cauca, was on the footpath outside his house when he observed an individual with a firearm who started to shoot at him.
At this moment a young man was coming down the road was witness to this event and protected himself from the gunfire by approaching the home of the comrade who had thrown himself to the ground and came out uninjured.
On 22 February at approximately 6am, comrade WILSON CASTO PADILLA, affiliate of the trade union, SINALTRAINAL, was threatened by an anonymous letter made up oF letters cut from a newspaper. It was found by his wife when she went to open the door of the house and now he has to choose between his life and his family or whether to carry on in the organisation.
The above acts of barbary reflect the real situation in Colombia where there is no respect for human rights and where the main responsiblity for the barbary lies with the State and with the government headed by Dr Alvaro Uribe Velez, President of the Republic. All against a background of 100 per cent impunity for more than 3,800 assassinations of our fellow trade unionists in the 16 years the CUT has existed.
Because of this terrible situation for our trade union movement, we are asking for solidarity from the international and national community, from Human Rights NGOs, trade unions and other organisations to denounce these crimes and demand from the Colombian government real guarantees for us to continue our trade union activities.
DOMINGO TOVAR ARRIETA
Director of the Human Rights Department - CUT
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