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  1. Given that:

    * Spraying Roundup only kills foliage (thus allowing regrowth the next year)
    * Increased attacks & downing of planes (380 small arms strikes & 4 down planes last year, up from none a couple years prior)
    * Increased difficulty getting to the fields which are being hidden deeper in the jungles

    I agree with you that it won’t reduce supply. And even if it did, prices would rise thus keeping the trade profitable.

    I still say that, however unrealistic, if you want to improve the drug situation in this country, you’re better to squash demand.

    Comment by Eric — Tuesday, March 23, 2004 @ 10:26 am

  2. Colombian Trade Unionists on Hunger Strike at Coca-Cola Plants

    >>> >

    >>> >By Staff

    >>> >

    >>> >On Monday, March 15, Coca-Cola union workers in Colombia began a

    >>> >hunger strike in front of the Coke bottling plants in

    >>> >Barrancabermeja, Bogot, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Ccuta,

    >>> >Medelln and Valledupar.Juan Carlos Galvis, vice-president of

    >>>the

    >>> >union in Barrancabermeja, has said, “If we lose the fight

    >>>against

    >>> >Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our jobs and then

    >>>our

    >>> >lives.” William Mendoza, president of the union in

    >>>Barrancabermeja,

    >>> >said, “This is the final battle and we’re giving it all we’ve

    >>>got.

    >>> >We need all supporters of human and labor rights in the U.S. to

    >>>do

    >>> >the same!”

    >>> >

    >>> >Coca-Cola has been the subject of an international boycott since

    >>> >July 22, 2002. The Colombian Action Network (CAN) has been

    >>>leading

    >>> >the boycott in the United States. They have been organizing the

    >>> >boycott in communities and on college campuses across the

    >>>country.

    >>> >Meredith Aby, of the Colombia Action Network, explained, “We

    >>>called

    >>> >for an international boycott against Killer Coke for their

    >>>hiring of

    >>> >paramilitary death squads to murder, threaten and kidnap union

    >>> >leaders. Nine union leaders at Coca-Cola have been killed in

    >>> >Colombia. It is the most dangerous place to be a union leader in

    >>>the

    >>> >world.”

    >>> >

    >>> >Aby continued, “On average, three trade unionists are killed

    >>>every

    >>> >week in Colombia! The Colombia Action Network stands in

    >>>solidarity

    >>> >with the Colombian labor movement in their fight for the right

    >>>to

    >>> >organize. We criticize the U.S. government for the $3 billion in

    >>> >military aid they have given to the Colombian government since

    >>>2000.

    >>> >Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have

    >>>documented

    >>> >that these funds have gone directly to support the right-wing

    >>> >paramilitary death squads, which are the same organizations

    >>> >attacking the workers at Coca-Cola’s plants in Colombia.”

    >>> >

    >>> >On Sept. 9, 2003, Coca-Cola FEMSA (Coke’s largest bottler in

    >>>Latin

    >>> >America) closed the production lines at 11 of their 16 bottling

    >>> >plants in Colombia. The Coca-Cola Company shares several board

    >>> >members with Coca-Cola FEMSA and owns 46.4% of its voting stock.

    >>> >Since then, Coca-Cola FEMSA has pressured more than 500 workers

    >>> >into `voluntarily resigning’ from their contracts in exchange

    >>>for a

    >>> >lump-sum payment. Most of the union leaders refused to resign

    >>>and

    >>> >the company is escalating the pressure against them. On Feb. 25,

    >>>the

    >>> >Colombian Ministry of Social Protection (Labor) authorized

    >>>Coca-Cola

    >>> >FEMSA’s plans to dismiss 91 workers - 70% of whom are union

    >>>leaders.

    >>> >This would essentially eliminate the union.

    >>> >

    >>> >The union is calling for Coca-Cola FEMSA to relocate those

    >>>workers

    >>> >to other positions within those plants or to transfer them to

    >>>other

    >>> >plants. This is what the company is required to do, according to

    >>> >Articles 18 and 91 of the current collective bargaining

    >>>agreements.

    >>> >In January, a Colombian judge also ordered the company to do

    >>>this

    >>> >for the workers at the plants in Barrancabermeja and Ccuta.

    >>> >

    >>> >In a communiqu from the Coca-Cola workers’ union, SINALTRAINAL,

    >>> >President Luis Javier Correa Suarez said, “We’re doing this

    >>>(hunger

    >>> >strike) to denounce, nationally and internationally, that nine

    >>>Coca-

    >>> >Cola workers have been killed and 67 have been threatened with

    >>> >death; and that we’ve been the victims of attempted murder,

    >>> >kidnappings, forced displacement, and the burning of one of our

    >>> >union offices by the paramilitaries. This has forced many

    >>>workers to

    >>> >resign from the union. We’re also denouncing the unjust

    >>>termination

    >>> >of employment contracts, the use of illegal confinement to force

    >>> >workers to resign, the subcontracting of more than 88% of the

    >>> >workers and the impact this has had on living conditions and the

    >>> >attempt by Coca-Cola to eliminate rights in the negotiations of

    >>> >collective bargaining agreements as has been occurring since

    >>>March 1

    >>> >of this year.”

    >>> >

    >>> >"We, the workers affected by the closure of the production

    >>>lines,

    >>> >are continuing to resist. But, given the grave aggression that

    >>>we’re

    >>> >continuing to suffer, there’s no other recourse but to declare a

    >>> >hunger strike and demand that Coca-Cola respect the law, and

    >>>fulfill

    >>> >the legal resolution passed by the judge in January 2004 to

    >>>protect

    >>> >the right to work and require Coca-Cola to relocate the workers

    >>>in

    >>> >other positions. We’re also demanding the fulfillment of the

    >>> >collective bargaining agreement by relocating the workers in

    >>>other

    >>> >positions, an end to the repression, and respect for our human

    >>> >rights.”

    >>> >

    >>> >Tom Burke, of the Colombia Action Network, urges supporters of

    >>>the

    >>> >right to organize to contact Coca-Cola immediately. “This is an

    >>> >emergency! We need action! This may be the final show down

    >>>between

    >>> >the Colombian workers’ union, SINALTRAINAL, and Coca-Cola. This

    >>>is

    >>> >an important time for an overwhelming response from the

    >>>grassroots.

    >>> >People who are concerned about the rights of Colombian trade

    >>> >unionists must call Coca-Cola to demand that they recognize the

    >>> >union and the rights of workers!”

    >>> >

    >>> >To contact Coca-Cola and send a message of solidarity with the

    >>> >unionists go to www.colombiaactionnetwork.org

    Comment by Stephen — Tuesday, March 23, 2004 @ 2:34 pm

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