Yet another chainsaw massacre in Colombia

The bodies of three trade union activists who were taken away by a paramilitary death squad earlier this month have been discovered in a communal grave. They had been murdered with a chainsaw.

15.09.2003 (By Alfredo Castro, ANNCOL Colombia) On the afternoon of September 2nd three peasant farmers, who were also brothers, were travelling by horse near a place known as ‘La Loma del Chivo’ in the municipality of Ponedera in the Atlantico department of Colombia’s north coast. The men, Cesar Augusto Fonseca, Jose Rafael Fonseca Cassiani and Ramon Fonseca Cassiani, were all also members of the SINTRAGRICOLAS section of the Colombian agricultural workers’ trade union FENSUAGRO.

According to their trade union, and to witnesses in the area, a group of paramilitaries ambushed the men and they were forced to dismount their horses. Four paramilitaries subsequently took them away in a grey jeep to an unknown location. Some time later the men were all found in a mass grave in the ‘La Montana’ ranch (owned by a Mr Teodoro Ariza), also in Pondera municipality. All had been cut up with chainsaws.

According to FENSUAGRO both national and regional authorities have ignored all requests to investigate the crime as they have with the recent assassinations of the SINTRAGRICOLAS president Victor Jimenez Fruto and his predecessor Saul Colpas.

In a separate case of anti-union violence on September 10th David Jose Carranza Calle, the 15-year-old son of trade union leader Limberto Carranza, of the food and beverage workers’ union SINALTRAINAL, was kidnapped by six masked men who took him away in a white truck and tortured him, demanding to know where his father was. At the same time as the attack was taking place a telephone call was made to the home of the trade union activist. The caller was recorded as saying, “trade unionist son of a bitch, we are coming to kill you, and if we don’t get you we’ll attack your home”.

According to SINALTRAINAL the attack is almost certainly linked to the current struggle that the union is involved in against the Coca-Cola company.

Report taken from the LabourStart website, 18th Sept. 2003