Colombian VP is only Americas candidate for ILO leadership

Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon is the only candidate from the Americas in the running to lead the International Labor Organization (ILO), after nominations closed last week.

Garzon has support from Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain to be the new head of the ILO, a UN body responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labor standards.

Colombian labor unions are lobbying against Garzon’s leadership bid due to the country’s appalling track record on workers rights. For decades the country has been among the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist — 2010 was the first time that Colombia was not included on the ILO blacklist for countries that fail to comply with international working conditions.

The vice president is competing with eight other candidates, four European, three African, and one Asian. His major rival is the current deputy director of the ILO Guy Rider, who recently received an endorsement from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The election process begins with candidate speeches on the 30 and 31 of March in front of the ILO’s 56-member governing body. The final vote will take place on May 28 at the ILO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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