How again is it at all conscionable that we are negotiating an FTA with Colombia, where the government stands aside while union organizers are murdered at a ghastly rate of 140 a year since 1991? USLEAP, the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, has just released a fact sheet (PDF) with some of these damning numbers:
- Over 400 trade unionists murdered since Uribe took office in mid-2002
- Only 7 convictions for these murders
- Only 1 conviction for the last 236 trade unionists murdered, 2004-2006
- Only 2 convictions for the 326 trade unionists murdered since 2003
Also according to the fact sheet, from 2003-2005, Colombia accounted for 65 percent of the world's murders of trade unionists. By these counts, approval of a U.S.-Colombia FTA would give frightening new meaning to "race to the bottom."
If the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement enters into force, U.S. producers will compete directly against Colombian producers whose workers often cannot exercise basic rights without risking their lives. The United States will also have demonstrated a double standard in its "war on terror," rewarding with much-coveted trade benefits a country that stands by while its narco-terrorist paramilitaries crush fundamental human rights.