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Free Trade Is Killing Colombian Labor Activists | The Nation

3.8.16

Free Trade Is Killing Colombian Labor Activists | The Nation: American workers are increasingly wary of NAFTA-like free-trade policies that are historically associated with the hemorrhaging of many blue-collar jobs. But the losses for our “trade partners” in the Global South are often paid in blood. According to a complaint recently filed by AFL-CIO with the Department of Labor, Colombia’s political climate is just as, if not more, hostile toward trade unionists as it was before the trade treaty was enacted.

While trade has liberalized, intense violence has besieged Colombia’s incipient union movement, facing brutality from paramilitary, criminal, and state forces. Unionization efforts have stalled as dozens of union activists have been murdered, often without legal recourse.

Amid anemic enforcement of human-rights protections, the AFL-CIO reports, “Since the [free trade agreement] was signed, workers attempting to exercise their rights have suffered at least 1,466 threats and acts of violence, including 955 death threats and 99 assassinations.”


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