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Anti-labor violence in Colombia imperils U.S. free trade pact

More than 800 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia over the past six years, by government count, yet the number of those murders solved can be counted on one hand. Union organizing can be a deadly activity anywhere but is particularly dangerous in Colombia, where decades of political violence and lawlessness compel some unscrupulous employers to hire assassins...Colombia's reputation...threatens to sink...[the] free trade agreement with U.S...A federal judge in Alabama on Monday, March 5 ruled that a civil suit could go to trial against Birmingham-based Drummond Co. Inc., whose local president is alleged to have played a role in the killings [of three mining union leaders]...Among the victims is Jorge Abril Parra, who was shot twice in the head last year on his way to work at "Tapas La Libertad," a metal caps and bottling plant owned by one of Colombia's biggest conglomerates...A spokeswoman for Tapas La Libertad did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.