Reactions to Colombia “Action Plan”

“The Colombian government could make any promise to secure this trade agreement.  Until they actually fulfill those promises, we should not committee to a trade agreement with Colombia.”

International Brotherhood of Teamsters, April 7, 2011

“Recent killings put into grave doubt whether the Colombian government and its military are truly prepared to reform as the Administration presumes.  The fact is, despite the newly negotiated ‘Action Plan,’ the situation in Colombia has not changed, and therefore, should not be rewarded with a Free Trade Agreement.”

United Steelworkers, April 7, 2011

“85% of working Colombians are misclassified as contractors and ‘cooperativos.’  These millions of workers don’t have bargaining rights… CWA will continue its work with telephone workers, public workers, journalists and others who are fighting for employee status and a voice in their workplaces.”

Communications Workers of America, April 7, 2011

“In our view, the situation in Colombia remains unacceptably violent for trade unionists, as well as for human rights defenders and other vulnerable populations… We have no doubt that if 51 CEOs had been murdered in Colombia last year, this deal would be on a very slow track indeed.”

AFL-CIO, April 6, 2011

“In Colombia, more trade unionists are murdered than anywhere else in the world and the perpetrators are very rarely brought to justice… [T]his agreement is not sufficient to ensure that these atrocities will cease and that the Colombian government will protect workers who wish to form a union.”

Service Employees International Union, April 8, 2011

“We could see the same shocking numbers of murders of trade unionists when the FTA is implemented, and there’s nothing in this agreement or the accord itself that would stop it from going forward.”

Latin America Working Group, April 7, 2011

“Despite recent efforts by the Government of Colombia to demonstrate that progress has been made, Afro-Colombian, Indigenous, campesino and workers rights organizations tell a very different story.  Violence and intimidation are used to maintain large-scale economic projects by forcibly displacing communities.”

TransAfrica Forum, April 8, 2011

“The plan endorsed yesterday by the Administration falls far short of President Obama’s promise of a ‘smart, fair and strong’ trade policy and does not achieve the goal of fair and safe working conditions for Colombian workers.”

Sierra Club, April 8, 2011

“[T]oday’s commitments, while very important in some areas, avoid an issue at the heart of the problem: the continued operation of the powerful armed groups behind the bulk of anti-union violence and other abuses.”

Human Rights Watch, April 7, 2011

“The Administration’s ‘Action Plan’ agreement with the Colombian government does not do enough to protect workers’ rights and fails to address broad human rights concerns.  Given the history of unfulfilled promises and unimplemented commitments in Colombia, we insist that real, substantial, and lasting improvements in conditions on the ground are necessary before a trade agreement can be approved.”

Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment, April 15, 2011

“The ‘action plan’ being sold as a means to improve Colombia’s horrific labor rights conditions is in fact a remarkably cynical maneuver to facilitate passage of yet another leftover NAFTA-style Free Trade Agreement…”

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, April 7, 2011