Teacher Trade Unionist Assassinated in Colombia
A Colombian teacher and trade union activist has been murdered as she waited at traffic lights in the centre of the town of Tulua where she had lived and worked for over 30 years. Ligia Gonzalez was shot repeatedly at around 2.30pm on Saturday by assassins who drew up next to her on a motorcycle. The killers fled the scene after the murder and appear to have escaped capture despite a heavy police presence in the area. Mrs Gonzalez was a member of SUTEV-FECODE, the Colombian teachers’ trade union.
Luis Alberto Vanegas, the director of the human rights department of the CUT trade union federation, said that Mrs Gonzalez was the 16th teacher trade unionist to be assassinated so far this year. “But as well as the killings we’ve had another 144 teachers threatened and 20 forced to flee their homes and jobs due to threats. Another three survived assassination attempts and three others have been forcibly disappeared – all in this year alone,” said Mr Vanegas.
He added that his department was working on the case of Jose Omar Olivo, also a member of the teachers’ union FECODE, who had not been seen for three months now. According to Vanegas, “he has disappeared, nobody has heard from him and we don’t know if we will find him.” The CUT has nearly 200 similar cases of disappeared trade unionists said Vanegas