‘Free’ trade with Colombian trade unionist-killing regime

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Drink of the Death SquadsDavid Rovics

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 daily The Morning Star in Britain:

MEPs fail to stop EU-Colombia deal

Wednesday 12 December 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

British Labour MEPs fought an unsuccessful rearguard action in the European Parliament on Tuesday against a free trade agreement with Colombia because of the threat to trade unionists in the country.

Colombia has been described by Amnesty International as “the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists.”

Last year alone 35 trade union members were assassinated.

“It’s unacceptable to conclude a trade agreement when the human rights situation remains so dangerous,” said Labour MEP and international trade spokesman David Martin.

This video is called David Martin MEP speaking against an EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“The Colombian government is desperate to show its commitment to protecting human rights defenders and prosecute perpetrators, but we have yet to see serious changes on the ground,” he said.

But the agreement was ratified by the European Parliament despite their efforts and will come into effect after it has been endorsed by each national government.

“I regret that the Parliament gave its consent to this agreement now,” said Mr Martin.

“Our trade relations should never be at the expense of human rights.”

Richard Howitt MEP, who speaks for Labour MEPs on human rights, said: “It’s with a heavy heart that Labour would ever vote against trade agreements, as they help to create economic growth in developing countries.

“We’re usually able to vote with our Socialist Group colleagues in Strasbourg but on this occasion, as Labour MEPs and trade unionists, we felt that we simply could not support a trade agreement with a country that has such an appalling record on trade union rights.”

18 thoughts on “‘Free’ trade with Colombian trade unionist-killing regime

  1. Rovics is doing a Europe tour starting in April 2013 and looking for folks to organise gigs (if you didn’t know already). He wrote:
    I’m getting started now with organizing my spring 2013 tour of Europe! I’m looking forward to it already… With the help of those of you receiving this email who might be willing to organize a show in your area, the tour will be a success! As most of you probably know by now, my whole method of tour-organizing revolves around depending entirely on friends, fans and comrades to organize all of my shows. It’s the only way I’ve found that really works, plus I like it that way – if there ever aren’t enough people out there who want to take the time to organize a show then that will be the sign that I should start looking for another job…
    The tour plan is flexible depending on any events that might be happening that I should try to be at (such as big protests that might be happening which I’d like to sing at and otherwise attend), but my basic plan is to do a 2-month tour starting in continental Europe from April 20th through May 20th, and then to tour in Great Britain from May 21st until June 14th or so, and then to spend the last week or so in Ireland, where the G8 summit will be happening on June 18th and 19th.
    I’ll start with organizing the tour around protests that are happening (such as those that will undoubtedly be going on outside the G8 summit) and paying gigs – those most cherished “anchor gigs” that pay a guarantee of $500 or something along those lines in euros, pounds, kroner, etc. Hopefully after a month or two I’ll have a basic tour plan worked out, based on gigs like that, and then I’ll start filling the tour in with gigs that don’t involve a guarantee.
    I’d love to hear from anyone with any ideas, especially people who might be willing to organize a show, or folks involved with organizing G8 or other protest events of one kind or another. If the tour is coming together especially well I will probably be joined on stage by a very talented Venezuelan singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who will back me up and do opening sets for me…!
    OK, hope to hear from folks and hope to see you on the road and in the streets in 2013!


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