What’s a Few Dead Labor Leaders Between Friends? Colombia Free Trade, Then and Now

By: Thursday October 13, 2011 2:20 pm

Yesterday Obama scored another “w” with the passage of the Korea, Panama and Columbia Free Trade deals — virtually unchanged since Bush tried to push them through before he left office.

In 2008, the Columbia deal was a big campaign issue, with both Obama and Clinton denouncing any agreement until human rights conditions had been addressed. Obama declared he would oppose the Columbia deal “because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements.”

Since that time, the murder of labor leaders in Colombia has only accelerated, but the value of their lives has apparently declined. Because when the Colombia Free Trade agreement passed yesterday, it was awfully lonely in the “what about the dead labor leaders” room.


Obama Capitulates to GOP and Withdraws Labor Protection from Colombia Trade Deal

By: Tuesday June 28, 2011 8:30 am

As bad as it is too see the Obama Administration caving on worker protections, it is good to see Representatives like Sander Levin standing up and saying no.

SEIU Opposes Obama-Bush Colombia Trade Deal

By: Friday April 8, 2011 5:24 pm

SEIU came out against the Colombia “free trade” agreement today, slamming the deal as a product negotiated by George W. Bush with an “action plan” that does nothing to actually reduce the number of assassinations of union members in the country.

Democratic Reps., Steelworkers Oppose Colombia Trade Deal

By: Thursday April 7, 2011 12:30 pm

Seven Democratic Members of Congress spoke out against the Obama Administration’s proposed Colombia “free trade” agreement and its onerous assassination stress tests. They were joined by the United Steelworkers Union, the first major union to speak out against the deal after the AFL-CIO labor federation. Each centered their opposition on the laughable “Action Plan” to reduce assassinations of union members.

Assassination Stress Tests: White House Moves NAFTA-Style Colombia Trade Deal

By: Wednesday April 6, 2011 2:10 pm

The Obama Adminstration announced today it intends to move to Congress a NAFTA-style trade deal with Colombia (better known as Colombian “Free Trade”). The hold up for the last five years has been the little issue of union members being assassinated in Colombia. Specifically, 2,850 trade unionists have been assassinated in Colombia in the last 25 years, including 52 murdered in 2009.

Good news! The Obama Administration and Colombia have agreed to an “Action Plan” to reduce those assassinations in the next 3 months before Congress ratifies the NAFTA-style trade deal. As Marcy Wheeler noted, those checkpoints are essentially “assassination stress tests” – a meaningless series of goals without real enforcement, and without a requirement that the number of murders is actually, you know, reduced.

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