Urgent Alert - Missing Colombian WorkersPublished by MAC on 2003-10-10
Urgent Alert - Missing Colombian Workers
Ask Colombian President to Intervene to Save Lives of Missing Trade Unionists
The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) has called on U.S. and Colombian officials to take immediate action to locate Colombian workers David Vergara and Seth Cure and return them to their families.
On September 29, 2003, Vergara and Cure, officials of the mining union SINTRAMIENERGETICA, disappeared from their abandoned vehicles en route to a meeting to discuss upcoming labor contract negotiations with the Drummond Company.
The clothes and personal effects of Messrs. Vergara and Cure were discovered with their vehicle, and combined with intelligence gleaned by SINTTRAMIENERGETICA, which has worked closely with the USWA, has led to the conclusion that the two men are alive and in the custody of armed groups.
In a letter to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, USWA President Leo W. Gerard noted with alarm that quick action of Colombian officials is necessary to save the men's lives.
Gerard's letter noted that the forceful abduction of Vergara and Cure "is tragically reminiscent of the forced capture and subsequent murders of Valmore Locarna, Victor Orcasita and Gustavo Soler - all employees of Drummond and officials of SINTRAMIENERGETICA."
Locarno, Orcasita and Soler were murdered in 2001 by paramilitaries who forcefully removed them from buses taking them home from their work at the La Loma Drummond mines to their homes. The paramilitaries then murdered these individuals.
Colombia isby far the most dangerous country in the world for labor activists. It holds the record for the murders of trade union activists.