Thursday, August 09, 2007
Isidro Segundo Gil, an employee at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Colombia, was killed at his workplace by paramilitary thugs. His children, now living in hiding with relatives, understand all too well why their homeland is known as "a country where union work is like carrying a tombstone on your back."
A chilling description of Gil's assassination, based on eyewitness accounts, is the centerpiece of a lawsuit filed in Miami in July 2001 against Coca-Cola, Panamerican Beverages (the largest soft drink bottler in Latin America) and Bebidas y Alimentos (a bottler owned by Richard Kirby of Key Biscayne, Fla., which operates the plant in which Gil was killed.
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We need your help to stop a gruesome cycle of murders, kidnappings and torture of SINALTRAINAL (National Union of Food Industry Workers) union leaders and organizers involved in daily life-and-death struggles at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia...
Coca-Cola bottlers “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilize extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders,” the lawsuit states. It also notes that Colombian troops connected with the paramilitaries have trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, Ga., where trainees were encouraged to torture and murder those who do “union organizing and recruiting;” pass out “propaganda in favor of workers;” and “sympathize with demonstrators or strikes.” This was made public when the Pentagon was forced to reveal the contents of training manuals used at the school. (For more information, see www.soaw.org, the website of SOA Watch.)
... of Coca-Cola and its key financial ally, SunTrust Banks. As long as SunTrust, “the bank of Killer Coke,”
Javier Correa, President, Sinaltrainal
William Mendoza, President of SINALTRAINAL, Barrancabermeja.
Ray Rogers, Director, Campaign to Stop Killer CokeCampaign to Stop Killer Coke
OMAL (Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina)
Stop Killer Coke, Dollars and Sense