Support for Colombian trade unionists

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Thu Feb 28 10:33:17 MST 2002

The following resolution, submitted by Plumbers and
Fitters Local 393 was passed unanimously last night by
the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. Please move it in
your organization and get it to the national AFL-CIO
as rapidly as possible.

We Stand in Solidarity with Besieged Colombian Trade
Unionists and We Shall Not Be Moved

WHEREAS, with $1.6 billion in aid to "Plan Colombia,"
supposedly to fight drugs, our government is now
involved financially and militarily in a 38- year-old
conflict that has taken the lives of tens of thousands
of people and, according to the CUT (largest Colombian
labor federation,) since 1985 over 3800 trade
unionists have been killed and in 2001 there were 169
assassinations of union workers, 30 attempted
assassinations, 79 unionists were "disappeared" and
over 400 reported threats and intimidations; and

WHEREAS,  Colombia's unions are the nation's leading
advocates against transnational corporate (TNC) and
International Monetary Fund (IMF) domination,  the
Free Trade Area of the Americas FTAA and for peace, human
rights and economic justice, facts which make trade
unionists targets for assassination, torture and
dismemberment by the rightwing paramilitary AUC
(Colombian United Selfdefense) often acting in league
with  TNCs and official government forces and with
almost absolute impunity from prosecution or court
action according to reports of the U.N Commission on
Human Rights, the Organization of American States
Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch and the
U.S. Department of State; and

WHEREAS, at present in Colombia there are 500 U.S.
military "advisers" andin 2002 U.S. aid to Plan
Colombia amounts to $1.5 million per day, most to the
military whose personnel and resources are supportive
of and sometimes interchangeable with the
paramilitaries who terrorize unionists, human rights
activists, journalists, and campesino and indigenous
groups and, as of 2/7/02, Pres. Bush is asking for $98
million more for a new initiative to "protect" an oil
company pipeline although this will openly escalate
the so-calledwar on drugs into a counterinsurgency
intervention, not unlike the steps which led to the
Vietnam War; and

WHEREAS, the terror used against workers in Colombia
coincides with a government/corporate union busting
campaign to break organized labor's unanimous
resistance to IMF demands for "structural adjustment,"
amounting to privatization of public services and
industries, cutting the 8 hour day and overtime pay,
undercutting the minimum wage, the system of benefits
for low income workers and protections against unjust
firings and wholesale reductions in public employment
and benefits; and

WHEREAS,  the lethal violence against unionists and
the impunity of the paramilitary perpetrators denies
Colombian workers  the right to freely associate,
organize and function in unions in violation of
internationally recognized standards of the
International Labor Organization (ILO);

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this body calls upon
Congress to deny new funds to the Bush administration
for the Colombian military and calls upon Congress and
President Bush to stop present funding until the
military ceases all ties to the AUC in actual practice
at every command level and until clear progress is
made in bringing to justice the  paramilitary perpetrators
of the thousands of heinous crimes against the people
and the trade union movement and until Colombians
freely enjoy the internationally recognizedworkers
rights spelled out by the ILO and their condition
satisfies an ILO Commission of Inquiry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the AFL-CIO
to join us in these demands upon Congress and the
President as energetically as possible and to use its
publications and correspondence to all unions and
labor councils to generate a groundswell of action that will
inform officials from Washington, D.C to Bogota,
Colombia that American workers stand in absolute
solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Colombia
and we shall not be moved; and

continue its praiseworthy initiative in offering
relief and sanctuary in this country to Colombian trade
unionists under imminent threat by paramilitary death
squads and to expand that fine work to endorse and
call upon all affiliates  to support public demonstrations
of solidarity with the workers and people of Colombia
- such as the April 19-22, 2002 days of teach-ins,
lobbying , vigils and marches in Washington, DC and
the July 22, 2002 demonstration at Coca Cola headquarters
in Atlanta, GA  in support of  the human rights lawsuit
against Coca Cola brought by the  United Steel Workers
of America in conjunction with the besieged Colombian
unionists who work for that giant transnational
corporation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that this resolution be
submitted to the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council for
adoption and be forwarded to all local unions,
district councils and other organizations affiliated with the
South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,
that the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council forward this
resolution to John Sweeney,General President of the AFL-CIO
for adoption and support as provided in this resolution.


Emergency Demonstration
Wednesday, February 27 at 4:30
Federal Building
4th St & 4th Ave
Downtown Minneapolis

On Thursday, February 21, 2002, the Colombian
Government of Pastrana broke off peace talks with the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Pastrana, and the U.S. Generals who direct Colombia's
Military, began attacking the demilitarized Zone.
Pilots bombed 85 locations within the Zone
for Dialogue.  This Zone, established to facilitate
peace talks, has been the most peaceful part of
Colombia because the Colombian Army and their
Paramilitary death squads have not operated there.  No
longer.  Plan Colombia has come to the Zone.

The U.S. directed Plan Colombia spends $2.1 billion of
U.S. taxpayer money on deadly fumigations and a
dirty war against the people's movements.
The U.S. fumigation campaign has only pushed more poor
peasants to support the FARC and their demands for
economic and social justice.  The Paramilitary
death squads now kill a trade unionist every other day
for demanding better wages, work conditions, and a just society.

The demilitarized Zone has been threatened numerous
times in the last few months as the U.S. "war on terrorism"
has been directed at the people's struggle in Colombia.
The U.S. State Department announced a new counter-insurgency
effort last month.  Now U.S.corporate oil interests,
like Occidental Oil, are protected by Plan Colombia.

The Bush-Cheney White House, following the Plan Colombia
created by Clinton and Gore, want war, war, and more war.
The Colombian people's blood will flow to guarantee
U.S. oil profits.

Stop U.S. intervention!  Stop Plan Colombia!

In coordination with the Committee for a New Colombia
in San Francisco, the Colombia Solidarity Committee of
Chicago, and the Colombia Action Committee
and International Action Center of New York.


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