Columbia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. Between January 1, 1986 and April 30, 2010, there were 2,832 murders of unionists within the country. The average for that 20-year period was one murdered trade unionist every three days.
As of 2009, trade union membership for the country stood at around 4%. According to a United Nations report, Columbia has the highest level of income inequality of the 18 Latin American countries included in the study. The Government is pro-business and anti-union, and the climate of fear, inequality and human rights violations to benefit rich monopolies and oligopolies that control the country’s economy has transformed Columbia into the most fascist state in the western hemisphere.
Huber Ballesteros is one of Colombia’s best known trade union and human rights activists. He is also one of the most threatened. He was arrested on August 25, 2013 and accused of ‘rebellion’ and ‘financing terrorism’. He has still not faced trial. Huber is vice-president of FENSUAGRO, Colombia’s second largest union and one of the most persecuted, having had over 1,000 members assassinated in recent years.
He is also a member of the Colombian TUC (CUT) Executive Committee, and is also a leader of the ‘Patriotic March’ which is spearheading the campaign for peace with social justice in Colombia. The CCU believes it is because of his activism that Huber is being targeted, and are calling for his unconditional release, along with that of all other political prisoners in Colombia.