U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) voiced strong disagreement as the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) takes effect today.
"The implementation of the free trade agreement with Colombia is further proof that the promised labor right protections in NAFTA style deals are meaningless," Rep. Kaptur stated. "For decades, we have been told that these types of deals improve working conditions in partner countries. This simply is not true."
According to the AFL-CIO, more than 2,850 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia over the last 25 years.
"In far too many of these cases, there has been no justice, and the Colombian government has been unable to stop the violence against union members.
It is unacceptable that so often no one is even brought to trial for these murders," said Kaptur.
According to Colombia's National Union School, fifty-one trade unionists were killed in 2012, thirty trade unionists were killed last year, and at least four were killed this year.
"Colombia has repeatedly been labeled the most dangerous country in the world for union members," Kaptur noted. "This is a country that is absolutely plagued by labor-related violence. The United States' imprimatur on injustice will do nothing to better the plight of working people in Colombia or anywhere else."
Congress approved the Colombia FTA on October 12, 2011. Congresswoman Kaptur was joined by 166 other Members of the House of Representatives in opposing the agreement.