STUC 2023 – Colombia needs peace, and Chile ” the other 9/11″

Congress heard that the collapse of the ceasefire in Colombia and the attack on 29 March 2023 attributed to the National Liberation Army (ELN) have thrown “total peace” into jeopardy.

It backed a call from UNISON and South Lanarkshire and East Kilbride TUC to press politicians to support peace dialogues in Colombia and to demand the release of political prisoners.

Moving the motion, UNISON Scotland International Committee co-chair, Tony Caleary told Congress that the Colombian people still need our help because factions that were signatories to the peace treaty have once again picked up arms.

“Recently documented figures from Justice for Colombia state that in the first three months of 2023, at least 35 social activists and five former FARC guerrillas have been murdered and at least 27 massacres have taken place,” said Tony, adding that the UN have also voiced concerns over an increasing number of dubious detentions, particularly of 180 young protesters.

He said that the new government is very keen to make sure that every effort is made to implement “total peace” but warned that some of the state machinery and some of the judiciary seem to have a different agenda and are blocking the process.

“This composite applauds Justice for Colombia (JFC) for its ongoing campaigning for trade unionism, human rights and peace.” He asked that branches affiliate to JFC and called on the international community to support Colombia’s government to continue the path to “total peace.”

Affiliate here: Join JFC – justice for colombia – justice for colombia

Chile – 50th anniversary of the bloody coup
Tony also took the opportunity to highlight that Colombia is not the only country in South America to have a progressive government. Chile does too, and Tony asked delegates to remember that the 11 September this year is the 50th anniversary of Pinochet’s bloody coup – “the other 9:11.”

Pointing out that Scottish trade unions have a strong tradition of solidarity with Chile, he called on Congress and all affiliates to support, sponsor, publicise and participate in any events being held locally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the coup.

“As trade unionists we cannot and must not forget this anniversary.”