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News :: Human Rights
Mr. Javier Correa, President of Colombian Union Sinal Trainal, Speaking at UMass-Amherst Feb. 16
14 Feb 2005
Free and open to the public.
Please attend and distribute widely!!

Take Back UMass and the Radical Student Union at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst present...


Mr. Javier Correa is speaking at UMass-Amherst on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Cape Cod Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

Mr. Correa, who is the president of Sinaltrainal, the union that represents Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia, will be in Western Massachusetts to highlight the role of both public and private higher education institutions in supporting the human rights violations of the Coca-Cola corporation in Colombia and around the world.

We have a really good time and location to hold this event. Javier is coming all the way from Colombia. All we need now is for people to show up. Let's all make an effort to make this a success.

If anybody is part of another organization where they can promote this special event, could you ask for some kind of co-sponsorship or just make sure people know about it? Also it would be really great if someone could make a poster. There are pictures of Javier at

See for directions to campus.

Scroll down for information and resources regarding Colombian unions and workers, as well as U.S. intervention and complicity in Colombia and the surrounding region.

-- 30 --


Book review

'War in Colombia': Many voices speak out against U.S. intervention

"War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A," published by the International Action Center, New York, 2003. 297 pages with index, chronology and appendix. Edited and compiled by Rebeca Toledo, Teresa Gutierrez, Sara Flounders and Andy McInerney. $19.95. (List price is $19.95 but at www.left it's 20 percent off, only $15.95)
By Leslie Feinberg

On Feb. 13, a U.S. government plane was downed by gunfire over southern Colombia and crashed into the jungle below. Forces from Colombia's largest revolutionary army took three survivors prisoner, all U.S. citizens. A fourth U.S. citizen and a Colombian Army sergeant were reportedly shot and killed at the scene of the crash.

President George W. Bush did not pre-empt network television to rattle the sabers for full-scale war in this hemisphere. Nor did his generals conduct live Pentagon briefings so the networks could proclaim a "hostage crisis."

Why such low-key coverage? The flight was carrying out a secret intelligence mission. U.S. officials refuse to identify the missing personnel or admit what government agency employs them, but there is speculation that it is the CIA.

The rebels are offering a prisoner exchange.

While Bush and his generals prepare to lay all-out siege to the Middle East, Colombia is their quiet war. But it is no less dirty.

The anti-war movement in the United States and around the world needs a clear view of the Pentagon's "Plan Colombia" and its impact on this hemisphere.

Now that information is available in a book from the International Action Center: "War in Colombia--Made in U.S.A." Many authors contributed to the book.

Section I, "U.S. Intervention in Colombia," debunks the "war on drugs" excuse and shows how massive aerial chemical defoliation of farmers' cropland, first employed by the United States in Vietnam, is itself a violent act of war.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark writes that the multi-billion- dollar Plan Colombia, announced in September 1999 by the Clinton administration, was meant to "eradicate the four-decades-old revolutionary struggle of the poor in Colombia, bring drug cartels under government control and reinforce small oligarchies subservient to U.S. economic and political interests in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela."

Journalist Andy McInerney analyzes the world political context for Plan Colombia and its continuation, Bush's Andean Regional Initiative.

IAC Co-Director Teresa Gutierrez shines light on the real terrorists in Colombia: the U.S./paramilitary alliance. More than 35,000 Colombians have been murdered in this reign of Klan-like terror over the last decade.

Part II, "Voices from Colombia," lends this extraordinary book even greater power. It speaks directly from front-line trenches of this war-- the jungle, the shop floor, the tilled land.

The reader hears from Manuel Marulanda Velez, founder and commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC- EP); Antonio Garcia, over-all military commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second-largest guerrilla movement; women commandants; Javier Correa Suarez, a leader of the National Union of Food Industry Workers (Sinaltrainal); the Lawyers Collective Corporation; the peasant organization of coca and poppy growers; a joint statement by 60 Colombian social, human-rights, non-governmental and peace organizations. And more.

Part III analyzes how U.S. intervention in Colombia affects the region.

Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz explains that the United States "simply wants to take possession of the markets and natural resources of the Third World countries, including those that were part of the former Soviet Union ... . It is already almost the master of the great oil reserves of the Caspian Sea. It wants to play the role of a new Roman world-wide super-empire, which, of course, will last much shorter than the Roman Empire--and it will meet with universal resistance."

Venezuelan Minister of Education Dr. Aristóbulo Isturiz lays bare the vivid events of the unsuccessful right-wing coup attempt in his country orchestrated from Wash ing ton in April 2002.

The wide impact in this hemisphere is also examined by President Lucio E. Gutierrez of Ecua dor; former political prisoner Ismael Guadalupe, a leader of the Committee for the Rescue and Deve lopment of Vieques; and Dominican activist and poet Narciso Isa Conde.

Part IV contains documents from many international gatherings rejecting Penta gon intervention in Colombia.

In the last section, "The People of the U.S. Say No," we hear from former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sen. Paul Wellstone, and School of the Americas activists the Rev. Roy Bourgeois and Linda Panetta. There is also a statement supporting Colombian labor unionists by the AFL-CIO national executive council.

Access to the book's contents is aided by a chronology of Colombian history, appendix documents and an index.

Co-editor Rebeca Toledo, a Latina lesbian activist who contributed her skills in many aspects of the book's production, took part in the Tribunal Against the Violence of Coca-Cola in Bogota in December 2002.

Leslie Feinberg is the author of Stone Butch Blues, Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul, TransLiberation: Beyond pink or blue. See:

-- 30 --



Presidential Human Rights Programme
Programs Human rights Presidency of the Republic ppdh (at)
High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia
Fax: (+57 1) 313 40 50
e-mail: oacnudh (at)

SINALTRAINAL: direccionnacional (at) ,

Douglas Daft
Chief Executive Officer
Coca-Cola Company
One Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta, GA 30313, or
PO Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301
(404) 676-3808 (Direct)
(404) 676-2121 (Switchboard)
Fax: 404.515.7099

Herbert A. Allen
President, CEO, Member of Board of Directors
Allen & Co. Inc
711 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 832-8000
Fax: 212.832.8060

Send the letters to government authorities to:
President of the Republic Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez,
Fax: (571) 286-7434 / 284-2186,
e-mail: auribe (at)
rdh (at)

Secretary of the Interior and Justice Dr. Fernando Londoño Holes,
Fax: (571) 286-8025
e-mail: ministerior (at)

-- 30 --


"There are no borders in the workers' struggle: An appeal to Labor to Defend Colombian Unionists"
(Click link for two-sided PDF leaflet)

-- 30 --

‘The Bitter Taste of Coca Cola / El Sabor Amargo de Coca Cola’

A People's Video Network (PVN) documentary from Colombia showing the human rights abuses committed against unionized workers, with particular attention to the cases of the SINALTRAINAL (union of the food and beverages industry workers) workers in the Coca Cola bottling plants in Colombia. A must see for those who want to understand the reality of Colombia and Latin America. [Edited for 27 minute version by PVN] Spanish with English voice translation. $20 Call PVN 212-633-6646. [also available in original full length version: $20]. Or see:

-- 30 --

Report from the International Caravan to Save the Lives of Colombian Workers

(Click link for PDF file)


International Action Center

Ramsey Clark, founder

39 West 14th St. #206, NY, NY 10011
iacenter (at)
En Español: iac-cai (at)
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Teresa Gutierrez 212-633-6646
IAC Statement on the U.S./Colombian Extradition of Colombian Rebel
On Friday, December 31st the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Vélez handed over rebel leader Ricardo Palmera to the FBI for extradition to the United States. This unprecedented act marks the first time that a leading member of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces-Peoples Army—the FARC-EP—has been extradited to the U.S. for prosecution.

Despite a total news whiteout in this country, the nation of Colombia is one of the most beleaguered in the region. Colombia is the most dangerous place on the planet for labor unionists as well as journalists. One out of three union activists killed in the world today are in Colombia. Over three million people have been displaced due to a bloody civil war that has ravaged the country for over 40 years. Most of the three million are children, peasants and Afro-Colombians.

The December extradition of the rebel leader is a blow to Colombia's sovereignty. It is an example that the onus of the problems in Colombia are placed on those who heroically resist repression and imperialist domination, despite overwhelming obstacles.

Palmera, who is better known by his Simón Bolívar inspired pseudonym "Simón Trinidad" had been detained, or better said, kidnapped in Quito, Ecuador on January 2, 2004. His assignment, according to FARC statements was to find a suitable place for a meeting with UN General Secretary Kofi Annan and other international personalities to work out a solution for the return of FARC's prisoners of war through a humanitarian prisoners exchange.

He was extradited to Colombia where he remained in maximum security prison and faced 100 legal cases with charges of terrorism, kidnapping, drug trafficking and rebellion. The transfer to a Bogotá jail was done with U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. In Washington DC, Trinidad was charged with kidnapping, terrorism and drug trafficking. Over and over, the FARC has denied drug trafficking charges. At the same time, over 35 U.S. banks have been proven to launder drug money and have received a mere slap in the wrist.

The kidnapping charge stems from a Feb. 2003 incident when the FARC shot at a small plane flown by U.S. contractors over territory controlled by the rebels.

"The acute situation in Colombia demands the immediate solidarity of peace and social justice activists everywhere," stated Teresa Gutierrez, IAC Co-Director. "As long as the U.S. government is allowed to carry out its bloody military and economic plans in Colombia which are best laid out in the Andean Initiative (better known as the $3billion Plan Colombia), the Colombian people will never win the peace they desperately need. This extradition will only exacerbate an already dangerous situation for Colombians."

"The U.S. government has no business demanding the extradition of anyone," stated LeiLani Dowell a FIST youth organizer. "The Bush administration kidnapped Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide which opened up an onslaught against the people. The U.S. needs to get out of Latin America and the Caribbean altogether." Dowell traveled to Haiti last August in a fact-finding delegation.

The complicity of Colombian President Uribe with the U.S. indicates that his administration is completely in the hands of U.S. imperialism. Berta Joubert Ceci, Philadelphia IAC Co-Director stated, "the extradition of Trinidad to the U.S. has been negatively seen by many in Colombia, including relatives of captives by the FARC. They are afraid that Uribe, as he has done in the past, will try a military, violent solution to the hostage situation where they could be hurt, instead of a negotiated solution."

Joubert, Gutierrez and Dowell have visited Colombia several times as part of fact-finding delegations. Countless interviews with Colombian unionists, activists, women, peasants, youth groups and others point to the fact that the real problem in Colombia is a repressive government that does the bidding of the U.S., death squads allowed to run rampant who are responsible for over 80% of assassinations in the country; and U.S. corporations such as Coca-Cola that dictate policies benefiting corporate domination at the sake of the Colombian people.

Gutierrez, Joubert and Dowell are available for interviews.

posted January 5, 2005

-- END --
See also:

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14 Feb 2005
cool event, but please don't post the title in all capital letters... you aren't supposed to do that on indymedia (read the guidelines for the newswire). thanks