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Home Facts Instability in Latin America
Instability in Latin America
From its beginning, the mission of the SOA has been to train soldiers to protect the interests of multinational corporations and maintain the economic status quo for the few rich and powerful in the US and their cohorts in Latin America. Labor leaders and union organizers have always been among the primary targets of SOA violence.

NO to CAFTA--No a TLCAC PDF Print E-mail


[May 28, 2004] Kensington Welfare Rights Union, http://www.kwru.org/

The POOR PEOPLE'S ECONOMIC HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN joins with organized labor and people across the hemisphere in rejecting the "Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which is to be signed by the governments of the US and Central America in Washington DC today. As a movement of poor people, unemployed, landless and homeless families, small farmers and farmworkers across the
United States, we have lived first-hand the devastation that NAFTA has wreaked on our lives and communities. We know that the deadly conditions caused by mass downsizing, privatization of health care, loss of land rights and social services, that we and our Canadian and Mexican brothers and sisters have suffered over the last ten years, will be made more severe by the introduction of CAFTA and the proposed FTAA. Our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters, the poor of Central America, are literally in danger as a result of these agreements.
2003 Report in the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke PDF Print E-mail

Winter 2003 - Good news to report in the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.

Over the Nov. 22 weekend, thousands of religious, labor and peace activists led by Father Roy Bourgeois marched against the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Hundreds of our protest signs were carried and thousands of our brochures and petitions were distributed.

The following Tuesday, some 5,000 signed "Unthinkable! Undrinkable!" petitions were delivered by a group of supporters to Coke's headquarters, led by union carpenter Ken Little, our Northwest Campaign Coordinator who is also the labor liaison to SOA Watch. Quite a few participants who received our literature at the SOA demonstrations and the FTAA demonstrations in Florida contacted us to ask how they could support the Campaign.
The Coca-Cola Killings: PDF Print E-mail
by David Bacon

After the leader of their union was shot down at their plant gate in late 1996, Edgar Pa?z and his co-workers at the Coca-Cola bottling factory in Carepa, Colombia, tried for more than four years to get their government to take action against the responsible parties. Instead, some of the workers themselves wound up behind bars, while the murderers went free.

Convinced that Colombian officials were unable or unwilling to bring the perpetrators to justice, they decided to go abroad for help. Accordingly, last July, the Colombian union Sinaltrainal, together with the United Steelworkers of America and the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), filed a lawsuit in the Florida courts against Coca-Cola, Panamerican Beverages (the largest soft-drink bottler in Latin America), and Bebidas y Alimentos (owned by Richard Kirby of Key Biscayne, Florida), which operates the Carepa plant. The suit charges the three companies with complicity in the assassination of the union leader Is?dro Segundo Gil.
Labor Leaders and Enemy Targets of SOA Terror PDF Print E-mail
Union organizers are among the primary targets of SOA violence in Colombia. SOA graduates have been directly responsible for the slaying of striking workers and the killing of union organizers.

In 1996, the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the SOA. These manuals advocated interrogation techniques such as false imprisonment, torture and execution. According to these manuals, these techniques should be used on those who…
  • support “union organizing or recruiting”,
  • distribute “propaganda in favor of the interests of workers",
  • “Sympathize with demonstrators or strikes”.
  • make "accusations that the government has failed to meet the basic needs of the people"
Its the Real Thing: Murder (The Nation) PDF Print E-mail
by Aram Roston

By vocation, Gustavo Soler is a heavy equipment operator at a coal mine in northern Colombia; by choice, he's a labor activist. Hunched over a borrowed wooden desk in an office in Barranquilla, his stocky forearms resting on a file folder, he acknowledges that his life is at risk, and that one day men with guns may come for him. Three months before, they came for his predecessor as union president--who was killed on the spot--and for the union's vice president, dragged away and apparently tortured before he was murdered. No one has been arrested, but it's commonly accepted that the killers were members of the country's brutal ultrarightist paramilitaries.

Soler and the dead men, who all worked at the huge La Loma mine in the remote Cesar province, had together been something of a thorn in the side of their employer, Drummond, a company based roughly 2,000 miles away in Birmingham, Alabama. They demanded better working conditions and accused Drummond of violating Colombian labor laws. Before the men were killed in mid-March, Drummond appears to have had ample warning that their lives were in danger.
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