The Central Confederation of Workers (CUT) have denounced the declaration and the death threats its members allegedly recieved from Los Rastrojos.
“We have received the threats via email,” said union president Domingo Tovar.
Tovar said that the threats were made shortly after the leaders of the CUT met with the interior minister, Fernando Carrillo, to discuss “the human rights situation within the union movement.”
The union president has pleaded with authorities to not ignore their obligation to take action and bring justice to those who have been issuing the threats.
According to Tovar, in 2012, 17 union members were murdered, four additional attempts failed and two members disappeared.
The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) also recently received threats, not from drug gangs but from Colombia’s largest left wing rebel group, FARC.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), more trade unionists are murdered annually in Colombia than in any other country in the world and authorities have obtained convictions for less than “10 percent of the more than 2,900 trade unionist killings…since 1986.”
While Tovar referred to the Los Rastrojos as paramilitaries, the classification is inaccurate. The organization does not consist of former members of the defunct paramilitary group AUC, although they have increasingly employed tactics associated with neo-paramilitary groups such as “Los Urabenos”.