Trade Unionists Killed in Militarised Zone
News from Colombia |
on: Saturday, 2 April 2011
The Colombian CUT has reported that on 30th March two members of ASTRACATOL, the Association of Peasant Workers of Tolima - a peasant farmers’ union affiliated to FENSUAGRO - were killed near the settlement of La Marina in Tolima. The CUT has condemned the continued assassination of the leaders of agrarian peasant organisations and underlines that this happens “in the midst of utmost impunity”
Thirty-five year-old father of three, Hector Orozco was vice president of ASTRACATOL, and his colleague Gildardo Garcia was a union member and community leader. They also both worked in a local neighbourhood association. Days earlier Hector Orozco had reported to the local office of the Reiniciar human rights NGO that he and several other peasants had been threatened by an army officer called John Jairo Velez.
There were no witnesses to the killings, but the CUT reports that the area is heavily militarised and there is a military post at the nearby road junction of Espiritu Santo. The authorities were alerted when the bodies were discovered and were asked to retrieve them. However, the bodies were left until late the following morning, causing their relatives a night of immense suffering.
The CUT is demanding a full investigation into the killings.