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There has been an alarming escalation of repression against rural populations in Colombia. Much of this is focused against the National Unified Federation of Agricultural Workers Unions, or Fensuagro–the country’s largest labor organization representing rural workers. Fensuagro is doubly targeted not only because of the peasant farmers and workers it represents, but because it is the most prominent union in the Marcha Patriótica (Patriotic March), a social movement demanding meaningful land reform, an open and safe climate for the political opposition, unionists and human rights advocates, and popular participation in the nation’s peace process.
Repression has also been high in rural settings for unions such as the Colombian Federation of Educators, or Fecode, and for human rights defenders. It is troubling that this overlaps with the current peace process and with more than two years of the Labor Action Plan (LAP). The LAP was enacted in April 2011, calling on the Colombian government to fulfill a series of commitments in order for the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement to be passed. Only one month later, in May, 2011, the US Trade Representative’s office announced ahead of schedule that the Colombian government had fulfilled these commitments and the FTA went into full effect.
The rising repression seems to be motivated by two primary factors: 1) the desire of the Colombian oligarchy and transnational corporate interests to augment and consolidate the appropriation of peasant land in the event of a successful peace process and land reform; and, 2) an attempt to prevent the emergence of a strong Left political bloc.
Add a comment Read more: Colombia Escalates War on Poor Peasants and Workers
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Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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