In the last 20 years, more union activists are killed each year in Colombia than in the rest of the world combined.
Right-wing paramilitary groups, responsible for the majority of (documented) murders, have been assisted by large landowners and drug barons, multi-nationals, and the army.
Colombian authorities are unable/unwilling to apply laws that protect basic worker rights such as the right to form/join unions. Many employers characterize labor disputes as tantamount to seditious activity.
Afro-Colombian workers are more likely than other workers to earn less than minimum wage and employed in jobs where they cannot form unions to improve working conditions. A quarter of Colombia’s population is of Afro-descendant, yet Afro-Colombians comprise more than three-quarters of the country’s poor.
In Colombia’s coal mines, health and safety risks, combined with serious environmental and social justice issues, create conditions reminiscent of US mining in the early 20th century. The dangers mine workers—and local communities—face are real and frightening, say four mining safety and health experts from the United Mine Workers of America.
Colombia, the largest recipient of US aid outside of the Middle East and Afghanistan, has received over $6 billion since 2000. Unfortunately, over 60% of US aid has funded the Colombian military.
—US LEAP, Witness for Peace, Truthout, and AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center