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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-15-09 06:42 AM
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Fair-trade groups look to Obama, Congress for change

By Michael Moore
13 July 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - Changes in Washington have given fair-trade activists in the Twin Cities new hope that U.S. trade policy soon will focus less on profits for multinational corporations and more on labor rights, human rights and environmental impacts.
Such high hopes were put to an early test June 29, when President Barack Obama met with Colombian President lvaro Uribe to discuss a pending free-trade agreement between the U.S. and the worlds most dangerous country for union organizers.

As the two leaders met at the White House, Twin Cities activists held a press conference at Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where speakers recited the long list of Colombias labor, environmental and human rights offenses and called on lawmakers to hold off on a new trade pact with the country until conditions there improve.

The statistics paint a harrowing picture of union organizing in Colombia. Robyn Skrebes of Witness for Peace said 65 percent of labor assassinations globally occur in Colombia a rate that is on the rise.

Already this year, 17 labor leaders have been killed in Colombia, Skrebes said.
Gerardo Cajamarca, a member of the Colombian labor union SINALTRAINAL International Mission, said corruption and violence perpetrated against union members happens with the support of the Colombian government and paramilitary organizations.

This isnt just about labor union assassinations, which is terrible, Cajamarca said. Its about a plan to be able to impose a free-trade agreement that goes hand in hand with the paramilitary and violence.

FULL story at link.

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