Attack on married trade unionists kills wife, injures husband

On Sunday 29 August, armed assailants attacked married trade unionists Rigoberto Cabanzo Arévalo and María Dorfenis López Cordón as they travelled by motorbike towards their home in the village of Caño Lindo, department of Meta. 38-year-old María was shot dead while Rigoberto was injured, with the attackers escaping without before they could be apprehended or identified.

Both victims were members of the SINTRAGRIM agricultural workers union of Meta, which is affiliated to the FENSUAGRO trade union. Since the signing of the peace agreement in late 2016, close to 35 FENSUAGRO members have been murdered, making it the most violently targeted trade union in Colombia. For decades, Colombia has remained the world’s most dangerous country for labour organising, with 22 murdered between March 2020 and April 2021 according to the International Trade Union Confederation. Further killings have been committed since.

As well as being active trade unionists, María and Rigoberto belonged to the Caño Lindo community council. In a statement, SINTRAGRIM said it ’roundly rejects whatever act of violence exercised against peasant farmers in the region.’ The union also called on authorities to ensure swift investigations into identifying the material assailants and intellectual authors behind the killing. Last December, another SINTRAGRIM member, Omar Moreno, was killed in the southwest Nariño region.