As the Presidential election of 28 May nears, intense pressure on the people opposed to Uribe's authoritarian neo-liberal project mounts, increasing the risk of them being "disappeared" or assassinated. An election, but where is the democracy?

  1. FOLLOW UP to 'La Maria' URGENT ACTION 21 May 2006

23 May, 2006

1. FOLLOW UP to 'La Maria' URGENT ACTION 21 May 2006

Thanks to all of you who sent messages so far.

According to reports from national indigenous organisation ONIC the prisoners detained at "La Maria" Piendamó Indigenous Reserve in Cauca have been released. There are however 40 people still recovering in hospital from wounds received in attacks by the ESMAD special police units, in which Pedro Poscué was assassinated and a further 7 people are disappeared.

We will send a fuller update as soon as we can, for the time being await further information before sending any more messages.


On May 15, 2006 at approximately 8:00 A.M., in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, at the headquarters of SINALTRAINAL, Secretary Yovana Rodríguez found an envelope upon entering the building that contained the following threat:

"M.A.S. [a former death squad] These are the names of the pamphleteers and doctrinaires that are fucking over our city ~V Euripides Yance, Limberto Carranza, Campo Quintero Jesús Tovar, Eduardo Arévalo, Tomas Ramos, Henry Gordón, Gastón Tesillo, Carlos Hernandez. The time has come to eradicate their tentacles that are growing daily in the unions, universities, and other organizations that allow themselves to be badly influenced."

On May 16, last Tuesday, EURIPIDES YANCE and LIMBERTO CARRANZA received telephoned death threats in their homes.

Many of you will have met Euripides Yance when he visited the UK on behalf of SINALTRAINAL in November 2005. He is a warm and loving man who is deeply dedicated to both his union and the people of Colombia. He has two young children.

These latest threats are part of a renewed campaign against SINALTRAINAL leaders:

On 1 May in Bucaramanga, two police patrol cars intercepted JAVIER CORREA (SINALTRAINAL Nacional President) and EFRAÍN GUERRERO (President of SINALTRAINAL Branch in Bucaramanga) who were then questionned by an officer of the SIJIN security police and unidentified woman.

On 10 May the Bucaramanga hotel room of another SINALTRAINAL leader, WILLIAM MENDOZA was robbed. Then at 6 am 11 May William's brother was assailed in the street in Barrancabermeja. On 16 May an unidentified man called the Barrancabermeja union office saying "Remember what happened at 6 in the morning, you great son of a bitch," and hung up.

These threats are occurring at the same time as the union is negotiating a list of demands with Coca-Cola in Bogotá. SINALTRAINAL are really worried that these threats will be carried out. They are trying to arrange a meeting with the Colombian government in order to ensure that the government takes action to protect their lives.

Recommended Actions

(compiled with acknowledgement to Montana Human Rights Network, ILRF and UK Students Against Coke)

a) Send a message to Coca-Cola, demanding that the corporation publicly condemns, in the Colombian media, these attacks on their workers' lives and that they ensure that the negotiation between the union and the company can be carried out without workers being threatened.

Write to: Charlotte Oades, President Coca Cola Great Britain and Ireland, Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9HQ Tel: 0208237 3000

E-mail: and the "Corporate Social Responsibility" section at e-mail:

b) The ILRF has set up an action alert. Go to to send it.

c) Send messages to Carlos Franco ~V Director of the Presidential Human Rights office.

E-mail to: Please cc in and add your name, organisation (e.g. university/college and city) at the end.

Subject: URGENT: Threats against SINALTRAINAL

Dr. Carlos Franco Director, Presidential Human Rights and International Humanitarian Rights Program

Dear Dr. Franco,

I'm writing to you to express my concern for the threats against William Mendoza, Juan Carlos Galvis, Javier Correa, and other leaders of SINALTRAINAL (National Food Workers Union). They have often been threatened with death by the paramilitaries and the threats have recently increased. I'm concerned that these threats could now be carried out. Therefore, I'm asking you to meet with them to take all the steps that are needed to protect their lives. They have been granted protective measures by the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission and the Colombian government has the responsibility of looking out for their physical integrity.

On May 1 at approximately 12:30 in the afternoon, in 27th Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets in Bucaramanga, two police cars along with policemen on motorcycles, stopped the car in which Javier Correa (national president of SINALTRAINAL) and Efraín Guerrero (president of the local union in Bucaramanga) were traveling. The police identified the driver and then called on the radio to say that they had them. A man and woman who were dressed in civilian clothing immediately came to the vehicle and Javier was forced to step out. The man said that he was Sergeant Sandoval with the SIJIN (police intelligence) and the woman refused to identify herself. They threatened to take Javier away and they asked if he worked for Coca-Cola. The woman said that she was going to file a lawsuit against Javier. I'm concerned by the actions of the police and the supposed Sergeant Sandoval, and I wonder who the woman is and what was she doing with them?

On May 10 around 10:30 in the morning, a man came into William's room in the Admiral Hotel in Bucaramanga and robbed some of his belongings. The Administrative Security Department (DAS ~V security police) agents that investigated the situation, and William's bodyguards, believe that this was a message that William is being watched and that someone was able to break into his room.

On May 11 at 6 in the morning, William's brother, Eduardo Mendoza, was in the Central Market Plaza in Barrancabermeja. When he was getting ready to cross the street, two unknown men yelled at him, "William Mendoza!" On May 16 at 3:35 in the afternoon, someone called the union office in Barrancabermeja. The man said, "Remember what happened at 6 in the morning you big son-of-a-bitch," and hung up.

On May 15, an envelope was found on the floor of the SINALTRAINAL office in Barranquilla. It contained the following threat, "M.A.S. [a former death squad] These are the names of the pamphleteers and doctrinaires that are fucking over our city ~V Euripides Yance, Limberto Carranza, Campo Quintero Jesús Tovar, Eduardo Arévalo, Tomas Ramos, Henry Gordón, Gastón Tesillo, Carlos Hernandez. The time has come to eradicate their tentacles that are growing daily in the unions, universities, and other organizations that allow themselves to be badly influenced." On May 16, Euripides Yance and Limberto Carranza received telephoned death threats in their homes.

In addition, on May 1 and May 13, a member of the union board of directors was called from prison by Saúl Rincón, an alleged paramilitary that has been accused of murdering Rafael Jaimes ~V a leader of the Petroleum Workers Union (USO). Rincón said that two members of the union board should go to the prison to talk with him. If they don't do so, William Mendoza and Juan Carlos Galvis (national vice president of SINALTRAINAL) will be denounced by guerrilla deserters. Previously, Rincón had said that he has to see William, Juan Carlos, Javier Correa, and Edgar Páez (member of the national board of SINALTRAINAL) dead. I'm concerned that they could be preparing to frame these union leaders.

I thank you for whatever action you take on behalf of these union leaders and for keeping me informed about the Colombian government's response to this situation.



Message to Carlos Franco


Subject: "URGENTE: Amenazas en contra de SINALTRAINAL" Dr. Carlos Franco

Director, Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos y Derecho Internacional Humanitario

Estimado Dr. Franco,

Me dirijo a usted para expresar mi preocupación por las amenazas en contra de William Mendoza, Juan Carlos Galvis, Javier Correa, y otros líderes de SINALTRAINAL (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos). Ellos han sido amenazados de muerte muchas veces por los paramilitares y en los últimos días se han incrementado las amenazas. Me preocupa que pasen de la amenaza a la ejecución. Por eso, le pido a usted que se reúna con ellos para tomar todas las medidas necesarias para proteger sus vidas. Ellos gozan de medidas cautelares por medio de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y el gobierno colombiano tiene el deber de velar por su integridad física.

El primero de mayo aproximadamente a las 12:30 de la tarde, en la Carrera 27 entre calles 31 y 32 en la ciudad de Bucaramanga, dos patrullas de la policía y agentes de la misma institución que se movilizaban en motos detuvieron el carro en lo cual se movilizaban Javier Correa (presidente nacional de SINALTRAINAL) y Efraín Guerrero (presidente de la seccional de SINALTRAINAL en Bucaramanga). Identificaron al conductor y llamaron por el radio para informar que ya los tenían. Al instante llegó un hombre y una mujer vestidos de civil, e hicieron bajar del vehículo a Javier. El hombre se identificó como el subintendente Sandoval de la SIJIN y la mujer no quiso identificarse. Amenazaron con llevar a Javier y preguntaron si él trabajaba con Coca-Cola. La mujer dijo que iban a demandar a Javier. Me preocupa la actuación de la policía y el supuesto subintendente Sandoval, y me pregunto quién es la mujer y qué estaba haciendo con ellos?

El 10 de mayo, hacia las 10:30 de la mañana, un hombre entró a la habitación de William en el Hotel Almirante de Bucaramanga y robó algunas de sus pertenencias. Para los agentes del Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS) que conocieron la situación y para los escoltas de William, era un mensaje que lo tienen vigilado y lograron penetrar a su habitación.

El 11 de mayo a las 6 de la mañana, el hermano de William, Eduardo Mendoza, se encontraba en la Plaza del Mercado Central de Barrancabermeja. Cuando se disponía a cruzar la calle dos hombres desconocidos comenzaron a gritarle, "William Mendoza." El 16 de mayo a las 3:35 de la tarde, se recibió una llamada en la sede del sindicato en Barrancabermeja. Un hombre dijo, "Acuérdese de lo que pasó a las 6 de la mañana gran hijueputa," y colgó.

El 15 de mayo, en la sede de SINALTRAINAL en Barranquilla, se encontró un sobre en el piso que contenía la siguiente amenaza, "M.A.S. Estos son los nombres de los panfleteros y doctrinantes que vienen jodiendo a esta ciudad Euripides Yancen, Limberto Carranza, Campo Quintero Jesús Tovar, Eduardo Arévalo, Tomas Ramos, Henry Gordón, Gastón Tesillo, Carlos Hernández. Llegó la hora de estirpar sus tentáculos que día a día crecen en los sindicatos, universidades y en las organizaciones que se dejan mal influenciar." El 16 de mayo, Euripides Yance y Limberto Carranza recibieron llamadas telefónicas a sus casas en las cuales los amenazaron de muerte.

Además, el primero de mayo y el 13 de mayo, un miembro de la junta directiva del sindicato recibió llamadas desde la cárcel por parte de Saúl Rincón, un presunto paramilitar sindicado de la muerte de Rafael Jaimes ~V dirigente de la Unión Sindical Obrero (USO). Rincón decía que dos directivos sindicales se vayan a la cárcel a hablar con él y, que de no ser así, William Mendoza y Juan Carlos Galvis (vicepresidente de la junta directiva nacional de SINALTRAINAL) van a ser denunciados a las autoridades por personas reinsertadas. Anteriormente, Rincón había dicho que tiene que ver muertos a William, Juan Carlos, Javier Correa y Edgar Páez (miembro de la junta directiva nacional de SINALTRAINAL). Me preocupa que se pueda estar preparando un montaje en contra de estos líderes del sindicato.

Le agradezco por cualquier acción que usted tome a favor de estos líderes sindicales y por mantenerme informado sobre la respuesta del gobierno colombiano a esta situación.



As from 22 May 2006 a strike has commenced at the coal mine and loading port of the US multinational Drummond that works the "La Loma~R concession in Cesar department.

3,500 workers affiliated to SINTRAMIENERGÉTICA stopped work to demand a reponse to their petition of demands. Drummond has refused to accept extending the Collective Agreement to 2,000 comrades working in contracted and sub-contracted activities at the mine and the port. The incidence of work related illnesses and accidents is extremely high, [the workers demand] an improvement in working conditions.

This strike has a similar motivation to the one already started on 17 May by the comrades at Carbones La Jagua, both of which have fulfilled legal requirements.

We demand that the National Government and the corporation respect this just protest and that a solution is found through dialogue.

Send messages of support to CUT Human Rights Department, e-mail:


A partir de hoy 22 de mayo de 2006, se inició la huelga en la mina de carbón y el puerto de embargue de la multinacional norteamericana Drummond, que tiene el contrato de concesión de la Loma-Cesar.

3.500 trabajadores afiliados a Sintramienergética, paralizaron las labores para reclamar solución al pliego de peticiones. La Drummond se niega a aceptar la extensión de la Convención a 2.000 compañeros de las firmas contratistas y subcontratistas que laboran en actividades de la mina y el puerto, mejoramiento de las condiciones de trabajo pues el índice de enfermedades y accidentes con ocasión de la realización de las actividades es altísimo.

Esta huelga tiene similares motivaciones a la adelantada, desde el 17 de mayo, por los compañeros de Carbones La Jagua e igualmente aquí se cumplió con todos los requisitos establecidos en la ley.

Reclamamos del Gobierno Nacional y de la multinacional que se respete esta justa protesta y se procure una solución por la vía del diálogo.


Presidente Secretario General Secretario de Asuntos Energéticos

Bogotá, D.C., 22 de mayo de 2006