Fears after Leadership of Oil Workers’ Union Receive Death Threats
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 18 March 2011
The CUT and the USO oil workers’ union have reported new threats against the union’s leadership. The USO has been in the frontline of the struggle against the privatisation of the Colombian oil company, ECOPETROL, and attempts to organise members working for multinationals such as BP. In recent years over 100 USO activists and leaders have been assassinated.
The latest threats were directed at Rodolfo Vecino, the USO National Legal Officer and National Executive member, and were delivered to the mobile phone of Rafael Cabarcas. Cabarcas is a retired member of the USO leadership, and recognised activist of the opposition Democratic Pole political party, who was victim of an assassination attempt in March 2005 in which he was shot in the neck by armed men. The bullet lodged in his jaw and he only narrowly survived. In 2007 both Rafael and Rodolfo also received threats from paramilitaries.
The latest threats, received on the 2nd of March were also accompanied by a threat sent directly to the CUT signed by the paramilitary group “Paisas of Cartagena” in which they sent Rafael and Rodolfo an ultimatum, warning that they would now go from threats to ‘action’. Threats like these are all too often carried out, leading the CUT and USO to appeal to the international community to demand that the government guarantee their safety.
To send a letter to the Colombian Ambassador calling for the safety of the USO leadership click here http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/campaigns/uso/