|Biography Articles Advise & Dissent Books Book Him! Search Contact Home|
UNIONS' BIG COLOMBIA LIE
By Michael Fumento
The New York Post, April 28, 2008
So it's not sheer protectionism that drives the Democrats and Big Labor, as the deal's supporters claim. It's "horrific violence," especially against unions.
John Sweeney, president of the largest US federation of unions, the AFL-CIO, detailed the allegations in a April 14, Washington Post op-ed :
Sweeney also insisted "human-rights groups say extrajudicial murders of civilians by the Colombian armed forces on Uribe's watch are increasing" and "more than 400 Colombian unionists have been murdered during Uribe's tenure."
Yes, Colombia has a high murder rate. With much of the country still in the control of vicious leftist narco-terrorists (supported by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez), you'd expect a high murder rate among any one group – from union members to midgets. That said, last year's 17,198 homicides (among 45 million people) was a drop of 40 percent from the 28,837 in 2002.
Deaths among Colombia's union members plummeted even farther – from a high of 275 in 1996 to only 39 last year. That's a drop of 86 percent in a decade.
And that's 39 killings (a figure the AFL-CIO itself cited last month) out of about 800,000 union workers – or about five murders per 100,000 union members. How does that constitute "a de facto death sentence" – when the murder rate for the population as a whole is about eight times higher?
In fact: "The Colombian government," notes Reuters, has "tripled spending on protection for unionists, human-rights activists and other at-risk individuals and established a special unit to prosecute crimes against trade unionists."
So just how few deaths are required before Sweeney – and Democrats who hide behind "horrific violence" – would support the trade deal?
"Zero," writes Sweeney. Of course, that's impossible: Any nation with both murders and unions will have murdered union members.
In short, the only killing that really matters to these critics is that of the Colombia free-trade pact.
Michael Fumento is veteran paratrooper and has been embedded three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan.
Read Michael Fumento's additional writing on the military, on Iraq, and on the media, and view his Spring 2006 Iraq photos from both the Fallujah area and Ramadi, his Fall 2006 Ramadi photos and personal photos. View his 2005 Iraq photos.