Friday, November 24, 2006

Colombia Deal Dead

Democrats to throw out Colombia trade deal

And its a good thing too. Colombia has the record for most murders of trade unionists.

Union to appeal court's dismissal of lawsuit against Coca-Cola

A Colombian labor union plans to appeal the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co. and local bottlers in an alleged conspiracy with local paramilitary groups to murder, torture and threaten trade unionists at its plants.

Which is why the Democrats in Congress tossed the Bush bilateral trade deal with that country.

The congressman said labour standards were at the “core” of Democrats’ objections - a sign that the influence of the labour movement within the party has been strengthened by the election result, which saw a notable rise in economic populism among voters.

Thea Lee, policy director of the AFL-CIO union, said, “Colombia is a very emotive issue for people in the labour movement”, adding that the country was regarded as the world’s deadliest for union organisers. More than 1,200 deaths of activists and rank-and-file members have been recorded in recent years.

The opposition from Democrats is also a setback for Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, who came to Washington to lobby Democrats for support.

Mr Uribe’s visit to Capitol Hill last week was upstaged by difficulties with his own Congress, where three members of the House and Senate in Bogotá were arrested for links to rightwing para-militaries.

The trio are being charged, along with others close to the government, with financing death squads. Senator Alvaro García is charged with helping to plan a massacre of civilians in 2000.

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