Disappeared trade unionist found dead in Colombia

The dust had not yet settled from the media circus organised by Uribe in relation to the recent rescue of the FARC hostages when news of the killing of yet another trade unionist arrived from Colombia.

The dead body of Guillermo Rivera Fúquene was found on Tuesday, July 15, in Ibagué, capital of the Tolima district. According to sources in the solidarity campaign organised to demand his immediate appearance, he had been buried in a grave marked "NN" on April 28, six days after his disappearance in the capital Bogotá.

Guillermo Rivera was a member of Bogotá Comptroller's Office Workers' Union, Sintracontrol, president of the Bogotá Public Servants Workers' Union, Sinservpub, an activist with the Democratic and Alternative Pole (PDA) and a 30-year long member of the Communist Party.

On April 22, at 6.30 in the morning, he left his house in the Tunal neighbourhood, South Western Bogotá, to take his daughter to the school bus and was never seen again alive. According to some witnesses and to footage from nearby CCTV cameras he got into a Bogotá Metropolitan Police car. His friends and comrades denounced his disappearance as an act of "state terrorism" and demanded that the authorities find out his whereabouts.

So far this year more than 20 Colombian trade unionists have been killed, belonging to 18 different trade union organisations. This represents an increase of 77% in the number of trade union leaders and activists assassinated in the first quarter of 2008 in comparison with the same period of 2008. 2597 trade unionists have been killed since the founding of the United Workers' Confederation (CUT) in 1986, making Colombia the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. In 97% of the cases no prosecution is ever brought against the killers.

The extraordinary resilience of the Colombian trade union movement in the face of such a level of violence and intimidation on the part of the bosses, the state apparatus and the paramilitaries, shows that no one can crush the will of the working class to improve its conditions and transform society.