True story first told to me by Katie Knight from the Colombia Support Network in Montana. Something like half of the union organizers that are killed in the world each year are Colombian. Colombia is also the biggest recipient of military aid in the hemisphere. This, of course, is a coincidence.
Coca-Cola came to Colombia
Seeking lower wages
They got just what they came for
But as we turn the pages
We find the workers didn’t like the sound
Of their children’s hungry cries
So they said we’ll join the union
And they began to organize
So Coke called up a terrorist group
Called the AUC
They said “we’ve got some problems
At the factory”
So these thugs went to the plant
Killed two union men
Told the rest, “you leave the union
Or we’ll be back again”
Now Coke did not complain
About this dirty deed
Why give workers higher wages
When Coke is all they really need
They phoned the AUC
Said “thanks, without you we’d go broke
And to show our appreciation
Here’s one hundred cases of Coke”
The baby drinks it in his bottle
When the water ain’t no good
The dog drinks it
But he don’t know if he should
Some folks say
It’s the nectar of the Gods
But Coke is the drink of the Death Squads
Well the workers wouldn’t take
This situation lying down
Some went up to Georgia
Said “look what’s happened to our town
You American workers got downsized
And as for us we just get shot
And those of us who survive
Our teeth begin to rot”
Well now that’s the situation
What are you gonna do
‘Cause death squads run Colombia
And they’re paid by me and you
We can let Coke run the world
And see what future that will bring
Or we can drink juice and smash the state
Now that’s the real thing
Created March, 2002
Copyright David Rovics 2002, all rights reserved
From British daily The Morning Star:
Uribe‘s military ‘gets away with murder’
Friday 19 June 2009
After a 10-day visit, interviewing more than 100 witnesses and survivors, special envoy Philip Alston told reporters yesterday that he had found nothing to indicate that such extrajudicial killings were state policy or that President Alvaro Uribe and his defence ministers knew of them.
The vast majority of the “more or less systematic” slayings occurred after Mr Uribe‘s 2002 election.
The hard-line president’s supporters claim that he has used billions of dollars in US aid to intensify the fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerillas, making wide areas of the country safer.
But Mr Alston criticised what he called too few successful prosecutions of extrajudicial killings, saying that Colombia needs more human rights prosecutors.
And he complained that military judges have tried to “thwart the transfer of clear human rights cases” to the ordinary justice system.
Mr Alston characterised as “blatant and obscene” the most highly publicised case – at least 11 young men lured from the poor Bogota suburb of Soacha early last year with promises of work, only to be found dead hundreds of miles away, depicted as dead FARC fighters.
“Evidence showing victims dressed in camouflage outfits which are neatly pressed or wearing clean jungle boots four sizes too big for them, or left-handers holding guns in their right hands, or men with a single shot through the back of their necks, undermines the suggestion that these were guerillas killed in combat,” he observed.
Mr Alston called that case the “tip of the iceberg” in a practice of “cold-blooded, premeditated murder of innocent civilians for profit” that involved “a significant number of military units” in nearly half of Colombia’s states.
And he observed that such killings have disproportionately affected the rural poor, indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, trade unionists, human rights activists and community leaders.
Victims included “boys of 16 to 17, a young man with a mental age of nine, a devoted family man with two in-laws in active military service and a young soldier home on leave.”
The government, which invited the fact-finding mission and co-operated with the inquiry, has taken “important steps to stop and respond to these killings, but the number of successful prosecutions remains very low,” Mr Alston warned.
COLOMBIA: Spying in the Name of ‘Democratic Security’, here.
Colombian government targets Communist leader: here.
Colombian ministers sought to defend plans to allow the US to boost its military presence in the country at a public hearing on Wednesday: here. Venezuela’s president has objected to a decision by neighbouring Colombia to allow more US troops onto its soil: here.
Tensions Rise in Latin America over US Military Plan to Use Three Bases in Colombia: here.
Isolated Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has embarked off on a south American tour to defend his unpopular plans to expand the US military’s presence in his country: here.
COLOMBIA: Indigenous People Troubled by U.S. Military Presence: here.
US military aid to Colombia is privatized: here.
Over 100 leading US human rights, peace and community organisations have called on Washington to “suspend negotiations for expanded US military access or operations in Colombia”: here.
Professor in Colombia victim of repression: here.
COLOMBIA: Spying on Human Rights Defenders: here.
COLOMBIA: From Espionage to Sabotage – and the Dirty War (Part 3): here.
What can make a giant tremble? When a penniless student group gets a threat from New York lawyers – in this case, Coca-Cola’s lawyers – on account the students want to show a film condemning human rights abuses, the optics suggest that the giant has something to hide. ‘Screening truth to power’, it seems, has its consequences: here.