WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
31 Jul 2007 | Noticias

Carta al editor del Wall Street Journal por Directora Ejecutiva de WOLA

En una carta publicada el 28 de julio, Joy Olson, Directora Ejecutiva de WOLA, responde a un editorial del periódico Wall Street Journal del 14 de julio en el cual se mencionó a WOLA. Abajo está el texto de la carta (solo disponible en inglés):

Your editorial (“Trade Double-Cross Update,” July 14) implies that John Walters, director of the White House’s drug policy office, has called my organization, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), liars. Such smears are a poor substitute for reasoned debate and reflect poorly on those who repeat them. Mr. Walters apparently chooses to attack our integrity rather than engage in debate.

It is hard to fathom what Mr. Walters had in mind in leveling his accusations against WOLA, but since your editorial was about trade, your readers should be apprised of the following facts, then come to their own conclusions as to whether human rights protections are sufficiently strong for labor union members in Colombia. More trade unionists are murdered in Colombia each year than in the rest of the world combined; 72 such killings occurred in Colombia in 2006, slightly more than in 2005.

During President Alvaro Uribe’s tenure, more than 400 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia, but only 10 convictions have been obtained in these cases – a less than 3% conviction rate.

The evidence suggests many of the slayings of unionists have been perpetrated by members of illegal paramilitary organizations. Numerous Colombian lawmakers, including many from President Uribe’s own party, are under investigation for their alleged ties to paramilitary groups, which also happen to be deeply involved in drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

So we stick to our view that widespread human-rights violations should be taken into account where trade agreements are concerned, and we welcome debate with those who think otherwise or who differ with us on how Colombia’s human-rights situation might be improved.

Joy Olson

Executive Director

Washington Office on Latin America