Obama Administration: Colombia Must Solve Union Violence

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 28 May 2009

The United States yesterday made clear that relations with Colombia would not revert to normal until the Colombian regime deals with the ongoing problem of violence against trade unionists. Speaking to a conference in Los Angeles, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke confirmed that the US Congress would not even look at a proposed Free Trade Agreement with Colombia until the authorities in Bogota had addressed the problem.

The proposed Agreement between the two countries is on hold due to concerns amongst Democrats over the high numbers of attacks on union members and the impunity enjoyed by those responsible. In addition, large amounts of US military aid have been frozen over human rights concerns concerns that President Obama himself has expressed in the past. The Administration of President Uribe has had a difficult relationship with the Democrats with former Vice-President Al Gore refusing to share a platform with the Colombian President and several senior Democrat Congressmen accusing him of turning a blind eye to, or even encouraging, human rights abuses.

The US position is in stark contrast to that of the UK Government which continues to have normal relations with the Colombian regime despite abundant evidence that the Colombian authorities are involved in widespread violations of human rights.

See also:

Jan 2009, Hilary Clinton: No Trade Deal for Colombia until Unionist Killings Stop

Oct 2008, Video: Obama on Colombia

Oct 2008, Obama Highlights Colombia Trade Union Deaths in US Presidential Debate

July 2008, US & Colombian Union Leaders Attack McCain over Colombia Trip

April 2008, Members of US Congress Accuse President Uribe

Feb 2008, Barack Obama Criticizes Colombian Government

Nov 2007, US Senators Warn President Uribe to End Attacks on Journalists, Judges and Trade Unionists

Nov 2007, Clinton, Gore, Democrats, Attack Uribe

Oct 2007, New York Times Editorial on Colombia

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