Letter from Colombian Unionist, Act July 22 against Coca-Cola

Longtime Colombian labor activist Gerardo Cajamarca, currently residing in the United States due to death threats against him and his family in his homeland, sent this letter to WW/MO. It is a reminder and an appeal for action on July 22, International Day of Actions Against Coca-Cola and other transnational corporations.

Dear comrades,

As in past years, we invite you to join us on July 22. That day was established as the World Day against Coca-Cola during the Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2003. Since then, July 22 has been a day of activities to show and alert about the power and impact of transnational corporations on the planet. There are many examples and many areas where these policies are manifested: environmental issues, labor rights, human rights, war, terror, destruction, dependency, etc.

At this moment 1.7 million gallons of crude oil spurt every day into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying this Caribbean area, because BP failed to take necessary measures for the exploitation of oil in the deep sea. This same company lays off workers and destroys the environment in Colombia. Other companies such as Shell, BHP Billiton, Fonterra, Drummond, Chiquita Brands, among others, also apply unethical and criminal behavior.

There are campaigns against Coca-Cola, OXI, Repsol and Nestlé; against the latter, because of labor problems, death and persecution of trade unionists in Colombia and its contribution to environmental damage and the destruction of forests in Indonesia where Nestlé grows palm oil for its products.

The companies from the chemical-pharmaceutical sector appropriate the wisdom of Native peoples to feed their pharmaceutical research and create genetically modified plants to ensure the sale of their medicines and their pesticides. Many countries are now indebted in their effort to buy antiviral drugs against swine flu, a product of the widespread panic released to ensure profits for European and American laboratories. Auto companies refuse to produce cars more compatible to environmental concerns. Banks manage the world and blackmail companies to ensure their profits and keep their power in the world.

These are only some examples showing the role of transnational corporations. This serious situation is not the product of an individual company, but it is the functioning and the goal of capitalism, which brings with it destruction, violence and death to maximize profits and control the markets. The economic crisis that currently afflicts us is a clear expression of the voraciousness of the system, which now seeks to resolve its crisis through greater exploitation of the workers, making them poorer and violently plundering natural resources.

“Let the rich pay for the crisis” is the slogan of the majority of the current struggles where popular sectors and workers defend their rights.

We invite the social and human rights organizations and all those affected by the policies of the transnational corporations to adhere to the great International Day set for many countries on July 22 as an expression of protest against exploitation, poverty, hunger and war, so that we can avoid being the ones who pay for the crisis. We invite you to include the July 22 protests in your action agendas.

You can find more information at sinaltrainal.org

Gerardo Cajamarca Alarcón
Sinaltrainal International Mission
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