A bomb in the mail

Followers of the Killing Train will remember the city of Cali, Colombia, and its public sector union, SINTRAEMCALI. SINTRAEMCALI has a record of militancy and successful resistance to privatization, protecting not just their own jobs but the public services badly needed by people in Cali. Recently they did a building occupation, which they called off after assessing the situation.

Three days ago two unionists from SINTRAEMCALI were seriously wounded by a letter-bomb (see below). This is not the first bombing against SINTRAEMCALI workers. Privatization by bombing is a favoured tactic, it seems, in this world order…

PRESS STATEMENT: Two SINTRAEMCALI members gravely injured by letter bomb

The Events:

At approximately 5.30pm Monday the 7th of June 2004 at the Water and Sewerage Plant Located on Kr 15, Calle 59 the guards on duty at the time Carlos Gonzalez and Gustavo Tacuma found a large unidentifiable package. Carlos Gonzalez attempted to open it and it immediately exploded causing the loss of his right hand and eye and serious burns, Gustavo Tacuma incurred damage to the cornea and second degree burns.

Carlos Gonzalez lost his hand in the explosion and had to have his arm amputated up to the elbow. Gustavo Tacuma is currently in a critical condition in hospital and breathing on a respirator.

Despite being immediately informed of the explosion police arrived three hours later and in a force of more than 150 Metropolitan Police Officers and agents from the National Intelligence Services (SINJIN), Technical Investigation Services (CTI) and the Security Administration Department (DAS) who carried out a thorough search of the of the premises. We denounce the conduct of the police in this operation which, similar to many other occasions, seeks to lay blame on the workers of EMCALI for the serious injury of SINTRAEMCALI activists

This attack comes just over week after the workers of EMCALI held the Permanent Assembly inside the CAM Tower from the 26th to the 29th of May 2004 to show their opposition to the Operational and Labor Restructuring imposed by the government in favour of national and international banks. This legitimate protest action was repressed by Alvaro Uribe Velez who assumed control of the situation , taking over from local civil and political authorities and the police under the Mayor and Governor, and imposing military control. The President ordered the forced isolation of the building resulting in the injury of supporters outside and threatened the workers inside with a full assault from the Elite Anti Terrorist Command if they continued to demand negotiations regarding the future of the Company. In spite of this coup d’etat at the local level, Governor ANGELINO GARZON and Mayor APOLINAR SALCEDO and the SINTRAEMCALI Negotiators signed an agreement for a civil and democratic end to the Assembly with a commitment to a Popular Consultation regarding the proposal for Operatiional and Labour Restructuring.

We urgently demand:
A thorough investigation in to the bomb attack that the intellectual and material perpetrators may be brought to justice.

That the Colombian government provide guarantees for the safety and security of Colombian Workers

The respect of the fundamental constitutional rights to life, security, liberty of opinion, information, assembly, social protest and the right to form labour unions and as such that the Colombian Government comply with international agreements it has signed committing to respect of the above.

That the Colombian Government make a declaration before the United Nations, the Organisation of American Status, The Diplomatic Bodies seated in Colombia and the International Labour Organisation so as to guarantee the protection of the human rights of the leaders and activists of SINTRAEMCALI.

That the Colombian Government explain the reasons for the ongoing and systematic persecution of Union Leaders and activists in the Vale del Cauca.

National and International Campaign against Privatisation, Corruption and the Criminalisation of Social Protest: FORBIDDEN TO FORGET

Asociación Para la Investigación y Acción Social NOMADESC
Sindicato de Trabajadores de Las Empresas Municipales de Cali SINTRAEMCALI
Sindicato De Los Trabajadores Universitarios De Colombia SINTRAUNICOL
La Unión Sindical Obrera USO
Asociación para el Desarrollo Social Integral ECATE
Central Unitaria De Los Trabajadores CUT – VALLE DEL CAUCA
Corporación Servicios Profesionales Comunitarios SEMBRAR
Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Minería en Colombia SINTRAMINERCOL
Movimiento Estudiantil del Valle del Cauca y Nariño
Fundación Comité De Solidaridad Con Presos Políticos Seccional Valle del Cauca
Sintramunicipio Bugalagrande, Sintramunicipio Yumbo, Sintramunicipio Dagua
Sintrametal Yumbo, Organizaciones Barriales Juveniles Artísticas y Populares de Santiago de Cali

Asociación para la Investigación y Acción Social Nomadesc E-mail: Nomadesc@latinmail.com
Campaña “Prohibido Olvidar” E-mail dhprohibidolvidar@yahoo.com

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction.