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Three Venezuelan unionists murdered
Three trade unionists, Richard Gallardo, Luis Hernández and Carlos Requena--leaders of the National Union of Workers (UNT) labor federation and members of Socialist Unity of the Left--were assassinated November 27 in the Venezuelan state of Aragua. According to reports, they were killed while making their way home after participating that day in a labor dispute at a factory belonging to the Colombian-owned Alpina food processing company.

"There is speculation that the attack was carried out by paramilitaries hired by the Colombian company, which is reported to have utilized paramilitaries in similar disputes in its home country," the Web site reported. "However, the day before, the unionists had also been attacked by the Aragua state police aligned with outgoing opposition governor Didalco Bolivar," a former ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who defected to the right-wing opposition last year.

The killings highlight the growing conflict across Venezuela in the wake of November 23 regional elections in which the right wing made some gains against the Chávez government.


I am beyond sick and tired of reading about Colombian backed right-wing guerilla death squads murdering union leaders, workers and their families. Uribe must be dealt with and President Obama must hold true to his word that he will work to ensure that workers in Latin America - especially Colombia where workers are wontonly murdered regularly* - are protected.

SANTA MARTA, Colombia -- Zully Codina was a mother, veteran hospital worker and union activist. The last role was the one that cost Codina her life at the hands of paramilitary death squads, whose records show they collaborated with the country's intelligence service to liquidate her and other union activists.

Codina was killed on Nov. 11, 2003, when a gunman pumped three bullets into her head moments after she kissed her family goodbye and walked out of her Santa Marta home. Her murder remains unsolved, as do those of the vast majority of the 400 union members killed since President Álvaro Uribe took office in 2002.


Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. Over the past 21 years, more than 2,534 unionists have been assassinated.1

President Alvaro Uribe was elected in 2002 and again in 2006 promising a crackdown on violence. His policies have resulted in a decrease in guerrilla violence, but there has been an increase in extrajudicial executions perpetrated by right-wing death squads and security forces.2 Assassinations of trade unionists have decreased, but so have prosecutions of the assassins. For the past two years, none of the killers of trade unionists has been brought to trial in Colombia


In a just world, Uribe would be sitting in the Hague right now awaiting his hanging.
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I just watched a Fronline special on Hugo Chavez. I got the distinct impression Chavez didn't like Uribe and would go apeshit if he thought that Uribe had sent troops of any sort into his country. Perhaps he has, I dunno.
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