Chicago: Religious and peace activists held a vigil at President Barak Obama’s campaign headquarters on Friday to demand that he keep his promise to oppose any trade deal with the Colombian government until attacks on trade unionists are ended. The vigil and procession to Mr. Obama’s office began on Friday, June 10 at 12:30, at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Randolph at Millennium Park, then moved across the street to Obama campaign offices at Prudential Plaza, located at 130 E. Randolph.
During his campaign for U.S. President, Mr. Obama promised to oppose any trade deal with Colombia while that country failed to ensure protections for workers organizing for better working conditions, including trade unionists who have historically been targeted for torture, assault and assassination by right-wing paramilitary organizations and corporations. In the last year alone, 51 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia — more than the number murdered in every other nation on the planet combined — yet the Obama administration is now moving ahead with plans to finalize the U.S.-colombia Free Trade Agreement, a move peace and justice advocates say is a direct rejection of Mr. Obama’s original promise. They called on the President to keep his campaign promise to say no to the U.S-Colombia Free Trade Agreement so long as trade unionists are being assassinated in Colombia.
Friday’s vigil was being cosponsored by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Witness For Peace, and 8th Day Center for Justice, a Catholic economic and social justice advocacy project. The groups are also urging people to phone the White House to urge Mr. Obama to keep his campaign promise to oppose the proposed Colombia FTA as long as union leaders continue to be killed with impunity.
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