Dublin Hosts First JFC Ireland Public Meeting

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 23 April 2009

Over 30 people attending the first public meeting of Justice for Colombia Ireland in Dublin on April 22nd heard from guest speaker Juan Cambindo Cueno, a Colombian trade unionist who played a leading role in last year's sugarcane workers strike in Colombia. Held in the headquarters of SIPTU, the largest trade union in Ireland, the meeting was also addressed by Irish Senator Deirdre de Burca and Finian McGrath, an independent member of the Irish Parliament who has previously visited Colombia. Liam Craig-Best from the JFC London office also attended and spoke at the event.

Mr Cambindo Cueno explained to the meeting how in September 2008 over 12,000 sugarcane cutters had gone on strike over appalling conditions and how the strike was met with massive police repression and open attacks by senior Colombian Government officials (see here, here and here for more).

He went on to describe how the workers had organised in the face of the repression and taken the decision to carry on with their strike until it was, ultimately, successful. His role, as one of the negotiators representing the 12,000 strikers, allowed him to give an extremely interesting insight into how the dispute played out and why international solidarity had played such a key role. JFC Ireland had raised 1,000 to support the strikers and Mr Cambindo Cueno explained how similar solidarity had been provided by workers around the world allowing the strike to continue.

Mr Cambindo Cueno finished by saying that he believed that the Colombian Government wished to destroy the Colombian trade union movement and that international protest and pressure was one of the only ways in which this would be prevented.

For more information on solidarity work with Colombia in Ireland please contact JFC Ireland Secretary Stellan Hermansson on Stellan.Hermansson@ictu.ie

See also Justice for Colombia Ireland Launched



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