Dmitry Litvinovich: The Colombian death squads

The civil war in Colombia has been going on for over 30 years. Thousands of people died during the contradiction between the rebels and rightist armed groups. The Colombian army, by the way, has been actively supporting the latter. The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) – the right half-militarized organization was established with the participation of the Colombian government; it is funded by the large American business. The militants of this organization are famous for their brutality. They do not mercy either women or children during their operations. The death squads help the American business to deal with the displeased trade unions. The assassinations of the trade unions leaders in different parts of Colombia were carried out by the guerrillas of this extremist organization.

A grand scandal has recently stirred up in the USA, with the world-known Coca-Cola corporation in the centre. The lawyers of the American trade union United Steel announced about their intention to sue Coca-Cola on behalf of the Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal, BBC reported. The company is suspected of hiring the so-called “death squads” with a goal to subordinate the workers at Coca-Cola factories in this country.

The lawyers claimed in their lawsuit that Coca-Cola and Panamerican Beverages, which is the principal subsidiary of Coca-Cola in Latin America, paid the terror campaign, like the spokesmen for the trade union said. The companies used representatives of the rightist militarized groups for murdering, torturing and kidnapping the leaders of the Colombian trade unions.

The suit, listed on 66 pages, was presented Friday at the press-conference in Bogota. In particular, it was said in the suit that the Sinaltrainal trade union suspected the company Coca-Cola of the connection to the death of one of the leaders of the trade union, killed in December of 1996. It is also said in the document that more than 50 trade union leaders had been killed in Colombia this year, 128 last year, and over 1500 over the latest decade.

No need to mention, the owners of the American corporations denied everything, saying they did not own those factories, and therefore, could not be responsible for everything happening over there. The New Herald newspaper went farther, and the paper directly charged the American business of backing the “death squads.”

The Colombian authorities found the proofs of the intensive financial activity, connected with money transference (both to Colombia and from it), certain American financial organizations, companies and figures. The money transfers were especially intense during the recent two years. The cheques in the total sum of $868 300 were transferred from the account, opened in 1995, in the principal subsidiary of Barnett Bank in Miami.

The receipts of 37 cheques were found by the Colombian army and she Special Investigation Corps, which is a division of the Office of Colombia’s Prosecutor General. The agents found the cheque receipts during one of their raids in the house, situated in Kalima-Darin countryside. The agents also found other documents, electronic note books and the lists of those, who supposedly funded the AUC in the region. That raid was a part of the efforts, aimed at finding those, who were responsible for the assassination of 24 village people on October 10. Six people, charged of that murder, were arrested during the raid, they had guns and grenades with them. They also had the AUC bandages on their arms.

The rebels of the National Liberation Army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia published the joint communiquй, in which it was said: “There is a clear connection between the Colombian army and the gangs of the half-militarized groups, which act as a single force of the state repressive machine. The army efficient headquarters No. 9, which is deployed in Bagra, plans and supervises the criminal activity of the half-militarized bandit groups in such municipalities as Bagra, Nechi and Saragosa. There were the joint positions (between the AUC and the army) set up to control the local citizens and collect taxes from tradesmen and miners. This unit has already killed over 300 citizens of the region.”

Colombia is turning to the second Salvador, where there was a lot of blood shed (not without USA’s participation), and a group of the financial bigwigs was deriving profit from it.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Reuters photo: A Colombian soldier patrols in front at a shot up wall in Cravo Norte during an attack against guerrilla rebels, in this file photo taken on October 20, 2001

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