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The People Behind the Coal
Colombian Trade Union Leaders Speak Out!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 6:00 p.m. Coal provides almost 50% of the electricity produced in the United States. Much of that coal—including what's burned at the Salem and Brayton Point plants in Massachusetts—comes from two giant, multinational mines in Colombia.
In Colombia, some of the most powerless people-indigenous people with no resources, no electricity, no water-and some of the most vulnerable- unions in a country with the highest rates of assassination and repression against union activists in the world-are taking on some of the most powerful multinationals. We have a lot to learn from their example.
Estevinson Avila, president of the Sintramienergética union which unites workers from the Drummond-owned and operated mine of La Loma, has been pursued by paramilitaries because of his involvement in the union.
Jesús Brochero is a top leader of Sintracarbón, the National Union of Coal Industry Workers which represents employees of the multinational-owned Cerrejón Mine in Colombia.