Colombia: Army kills 3 trade unionists

The Colombian Army last month killed three members of the agricultural workers trade union FENSUAGRO, the Campaign for Labor Rights reported.

The three, Javier Alexander Dubillos, Wilder Cubillos and Heriberto Delgado — farmers from San Juan de Sumapaz, near Bogota — were traveling to La Hoya del Nevado on March 18 to inspect some cattle when they went missing. On March 27, their families identified their bodies in a morgue in the town of Fusagasuga.

The army claimed the three were guerrillas killed in combat, the same claim it made a year ago after killing three senior trade union leaders in the region of Arauca.

Community groups and trade unions in the region said in a statement that the three were well known political and peasant activists, leading members of both their trade union and the local branch of the Communist Party.

Protest messages can be sent to: Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno, Embassy of Colombia to the U.S., phone: (202) 387-8338, fax: (202) 232-8643, e-mail: emwas@colombiaemb.org.

Brazil: IMF loan won’t be renewed

Brazil has announced it will not renew a nearly $42 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), BBC News reported March 29. The previous loan expired at the end of March. Brazil still owes the IMF over $23 billion.

The government said the country’s improved fiscal performance made it less vulnerable to shocks on global markets, reducing its need for IMF support.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party has said IMF loans represent the interests of investors rather than ordinary Brazilians. “It is important we are no longer subordinate to the IMF,” said Workers Party Congressman Ivan Valente.

Korean Peninsula: Protest vs. U.S. nuclear sub

North Korean peace and student organizations last week protested against the joint military exercises now being staged by the U.S. and South Korea, the Korean Central News Agency said. Of special concern was the revelation that the U.S. nuclear submarine Los Angeles recently entered the naval base at Jinhae, South Korea. In separate statements the Korean Anti-Nuclear Peace Committee and the National Alliance of Youth and Students for Reunification said the move heightened concern about a pre-emptive strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“But for the U.S. military occupation of South Korea, its arms buildup and threat of nuclear pre-emptive attack, the nuclear issue would not have surfaced on the Korean peninsula, the political structure in northeast Asia would not have become complicated nor would the situation have become so tense as today,” the newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a March 29 commentary.

Nigeria: Oil workers set ‘warning’ strike

Oil workers’ unions last week said they would begin a three-day warning strike April 11 to protest the growing use of casual labor by energy transnationals and the government, after talks on working conditions broke down, Agence France Presse said March 31.

Peter Akpatason, head of the NUPENG union, said more talks were scheduled with the management of Conoil and Beldop, two firms owned by Nigerian oil tycoon Mike Adenuga. The unions accuse the two of banning union organizing and hiring casual workers.

Head government negotiator Timiebi Koripamo-Agary warned of a major crisis in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry if the impasse is not resolved. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil exporter and the world’s ninth largest oil producer.

India: ‘Just say No’ to F-16s

The Bush administration has decided to sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, and has offered to sell them to India together with missile defense systems and discussions on civilian nuclear technology. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is urging the Indian government to reject the offer, warning that fueling the arms race between the two countries with the sale of sophisticated weaponry to both “suits the United States’ interests perfectly as well as providing a good market for its arms manufacturers.”

India’s defense minister has looked favorably on the U.S. offer because it is the first time Washington has made such a proposal. But the CPIM pointed out that for political reasons, the U.S. cannot be relied on as a supplier.

“The pursuit of an independent foreign policy and forging closer ties with all major countries including China should not be sidetracked by the U.S. effort to inveigle India into a strategic military alliance,” the CPIM said.

World Notes are compiled by Marilyn Bechtel (mbechtel@pww.org). Terrie Albano and Julia Lutsky contributed to this week’s notes.

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