BURNABY - CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill has written a letter to members urging them to write to the Colombian government and pressure authorities in the South American nation to put an end to death threats against labour activists; bring anti-union murderers to justice; and deal with the climate of intimidation that Colombian trade union activists face every day.
Among the trade union leaders who have been targeted with new threats are names that will be familiar to CUPE activists. Carlos Gonzalez, president of SINTRAEMCALI, the university workers union, is part of the Never Forget Campaign that organizes the human rights training program and was in B.C. this past spring for the CUPE BC convention in Vancouver. Luis Antonio Hernandez Monroy is the former president of the SINTRAEMCALI union. Congressperson Alexander Lopez, Wilson Arias and NOMADESC director Berenice Celeyta have also received threats.
In his letter O’Neill urged members to write brief letters, polite but firm, demanding action on the issue.
Meanwhile, on October 4, Julian Andres Hurtado Castillo, a student leader from the University of Valle in Cali, was killed on the same day he met with the provincial governor on issues related to health care. Last month, Julian Andres had been involved in a public meeting organized by students
from the University’s Health Faculty about Colombia’s health care system.
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