Colombia: wave of deadly attacks on education workers

Anti-labor violence is again reaching a peak in Colombia, with four education workers affiliated to the Teachers’ Association of Córdoba (ADEMACOR) assassinated in the northern coastal department since Jan. 28. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), together with its Colombian affiliates, has strongly condemned these murders, noting that they have been simultaneous with a wave of threats and attacks against the leaders of the Teachers’ Association of Antioquia (ADIDA).

According to the information received by the ITUC, Overto Beltrán Narváez, Rigoberto Polo Contreras, Elkin Eduardo González and Benito Díaz Álvarez were all killed by unknown assailants close to their workplaces in Córdoba department.

The president of ADIDA, Over Dorado Cardona, was also the victim of an armed attack, which he managed to escape unharmed. During the month of April alone, ADIDA has reported the murder of two of its members, threats against 59 teachers, and the police harassment during a march in Medellín on April 15, at which an official from the Criminal Investigations Department (SIJIN) filmed the speech of Over Dorado.

In a letter to the Colombian authorities, the ITUC urged President Álvaro Uribe to take every action to ensure that these incidents are investigated and that all those responsible for these crimes are identified and brought to justice. “The deep-rooted violence against trade unionists in Colombia is unacceptable,” reiterated ITUC general secretary Guy Ryder. (ITUC, May 12)

See our last posts on paramilitary terror in Colombia and the attack on labor.

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