Five Trade Unionists Assassinated in Colombia During March

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The murders of five trade unionists during March made it the most dangerous month so far for trade union activists in Colombia. Added to the four assassinations in January and three in February the total for the year now stands at 12 an average of one killing each week. As in the past the Colombian authorities have not yet arrested anyone for any of the killings leading the CUT trade union federation to describe the situation as a "policy of extermination".

March 21st was the worst day of the month with the assassination of two union members and the discovery of the body of a third who had disappeared a week earlier. Walter Escobar Marin, a teacher in the city of Cali and activist in the trade union SUTEV, had not been seen in the school where he worked for eight days when his body was found in the nearby town of Palmira. It is unclear how he was killed.

The same day as the discovery of Mr Escobar Marin's body, two members of the prison officers' trade union ASEINPEC, Jose Alejandro Amado and Alexander Pinto Gomez, were killed by gunmen on motorbikes as they drove together in an official vehicle between the towns of Giron and Zapatoca in Santander department. Their murder was followed three days later by the assassination of veteran trade unionist Ramiro Cudros Roballo as reported on here: Teacher Trade Unionist Assassinated in Colombia

The final killing in March occurred on the 27th when Armando Carreno, a member of the oil workers trade union USO, was shot dead in the municipality of Tame in the north eastern region of Arauca. According to the USO website, over a hundred of the union's activists have now been assassinated since the 1980s.

For previous articles on recent attacks on trade unionists in Colombia see:

March 11th, Another Union Leader Jailed in Colombia, No Charge, No Trial

March 6th, Three Trade Union Leaders Detained in Colombia

February 27th, Trade Unionist in Intensive Care After Assassination Attempt

February 23rd, Three Trade Unionists Assassinated in Eight Days in Colombia

January 30th, Trade Unionist Killed Following Paramilitary Death Threat

January 19th, Colombian Trade Unionist Shot Dead in Front of Six-Year-Old Son

January 9th, Disappeared Trade Unionist Found Murdered

January 8th, Wife of Trade Union President Shot Dead

January 5th, Four Hours into the New Year, First Colombian Trade Unionist Murdered in 2009

January 3rd, Soldiers Physically Attack Trade Unionists

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