Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Columbian Trade Unionists Freed From Prison

Dear Supporter,
We are very happy to begin this e-bulletin with some great news – two of the
political prisoners we have been campaigning on have been released and a third is
expected to be freed soon. On May 16th trade unionist Aracely Cañaveral Velez was
released after no evidence was provided against her.
FENSUAGRO trade union activist, Rosalba Gaviria, was also declared innocent and
released on 3rd June after spending 27 months unjustly imprisoned. Both prisoners
and unions have sent messages of thanks to JFC and all our supporters – showing that
the campaign can really make a difference.
On Friday 3rd June, imprisoned academic Dr Miguel Angel Beltran was declared
innocent of all charges, after being imprisoned since May 2009. In early May over
4000 UK academics signed a UCU-coordinated letter to President Santos demanding his
release. It is thought the verdict relates to the Colombian Supreme Court decision
that evidence from the notorious FARC computers is illegal. We expect Dr Beltran to
be released in the coming days.
JFC and Jorge Gamboa of the CUT recently returned from a successful trip to the ETUC
Congress in Athens. Jorge met new ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Segol, as well
as trade union leaders from across Europe as part of JFC’s campaign to block the
EU-Colombia FTA. The final Congress document, the Athens Manifesto, reiterated its
opposition to the FTA.
Unfortunately the murder of our colleagues in Colombia has continued unabated with
11 trade unionists assassinated so far this year, despite claims by the Santos
regime that things are improving. The two most recent killings on May 26th and 27th
were of teacher trade unionists.
April and May also saw the largest popular mobilisations of recent years, in protest
at the Santos administration’s education and economic plans. Up to a million
Colombians braved the repression to express their opposition to the policies.
Thanks for your support – it is only with your help that we can continue to show
much needed solidarity with our colleagues in Colombia.
Best wishes from Justice for Colombia.

Below is a selection of recent news articles on Colombia – for more visit our website.

Political Prisoners' Conference Opens Amidst Onslaught of Repression in Prisons 4 June
Update: Shot Labour Lawyer Dies, his Family is Threatened 2 June
Amnesty Colombia Report: Paramilitaries Expanding and Still Colluding With
Government Forces 2 June
Letter from Political Prisoner 1 June
Trade Unionist Shot Dead at Work 31 May
Unions Denounce Glencore for Anti-Union Activity 31 May
Children Shot by Army in Caguan 30 May
Democratic Pole Reports Threats 25 May
NGO Reports Alarming Increase in Extrajudicial Executions in 2010 23 May
University Union Denounces Repression 20 May
Santos Recognises Existence of an Internal Armed Conflict 20 May
GMB Calls on Lib Dem MEPs to Block FTA 18 May
Opposition Politician and Survivor of Patriotic Union Killed 18 May
Army and Paramilitary Abuses Strike Fear into Civilian Population of Cauca 16 May
Venezuela Hands Exiled Journalist to Colombia 10 May
Human Rights Hearing Exposes Army Abuses 7 May
Colombia Not a Legitimate Partner: Leader of EU Labour Party Protests Signing of FTA
6 May
Army Bombs Indigenous and Afrocolombian Communities Killing Three 5 May
Teacher Killed in Cordoba Department 3 May
Palm Oil Workers Strike 18 April
Army Troops Arbitrarily Detain Leading FENSUAGRO Trade Union Member 18 April
While Santos and Obama Talk Trade Union Rights, Another Trade Unionist is Killed 12
Human Rights and Victims Groups Reject Land and Victims Law 10 April
One Million Colombians March Against Government's Economic Plans 9 April
Academics and Students in National Day of Protest 6 April
Update: Peace Community Reports Killing 3 April
Trade Unionists Killed in Militarised Zone 2 April

Connect with JFC

Justice for Colombia 9 Arkwright Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 6AB
Phone: 020 7794 3644 | email: info@justiceforcolombia.org |

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