Submitted by larrywells on 07-Jan-2003


ALFREDO PORRAS RUEDA, former worker for the transnational corporation Coca-cola in the Bucaramanga bottling plant, was detained by members of the Grupo Gaula on December 31, 2002. Several hours later through the media, General Jairo Duvan Pineda, commander of the Fifth Division of the Colombian Army, accused him publicly of being a member and ideologue of the insurgent group Ejercito de Liberación Nacional "ELN."


ALFREDO PORRAS RUEDA, who worked since 1998 for this transnational company, had to leave his job due to persecution, death threats, assassination attempts against his life, and illegal searches, which were caused by accusations made by Coca-cola executives against the union.


It has been customary for the representatives of this transnational company to falsely accuse its workers of having links to the insurgency, for the fact that they defend the rights of the workers and their communities; this method is utilized by Coca-cola in its quest to annihilate the union and conquer the workers.


ALFREDO PORRAS RUEDA, who since that time was President of SINALTRAINAL, Bucaramanga section, had to leave the country for several months, leaving his job, and at his return he dedicated himself to looking for sustenance for his family.


PORRAS RUEDA, was detained three weeks after the third session of the public tribunal on the violent politics of Coca-cola in Colombia took place in Bogotá, Colombia. ADOLFO DE JESUS MUNERA, ex-worker of the same company and also leader of SINALTRAINAL, was assassinated on August 31, 2002, in the city of Barranquilla, four weeks after the first session of the public tribunal in the city of Atlanta, USA, took place. MUNERA also had left his job at Coca-cola due because of the threats that he received.


The detention of ALFREDO is trying to penalize his work in defense of the rights of the workers and their communities and is part of the systematic policy of persecution of which leaders of social movements, unions, and everyone who fights for peace with social justice is a victim.


Until today (3 January, 2003), ALFREDO PORRAS has not been brought to the appropriate authorities and remains inside the installations of the Fifth Brigade of the Colombian Army in Bucaramanga, and for this we ask the Defensoría del Pueblo and Procuraduría to watch over and prove that his rights are being respected.


We are asking human rights organizations, social organizations, and the people in general to declare their opposition before the Colombian government and demand the immediate release of ALFREDO PORRAS RUEDA as well as the end of the persecution against social activists and the end of the criminalization of social and labor protest.






National Leadership - SINALTRAINAL - Colombia


[Translation by the New York based Campaign for Social Justice in Colombia]


Send letters of protest to:


Presidente de la Republica de Colombia Dr. Alvaro Uribe Velez Palacio de Narino Carrera 8 No.7-26 Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86 [Salutation: Excelentisimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President ] E-mail:;


Vicepresidente de la Republica de Colombia Francisco Santos Consejeria Presidential de Derechos Humanos Calle 7, No 654, Piso 3 Santafe de Bogota, COLOMBIA Fax: 00 57 1 337 1351 E-mail:;;


Ministro del Interior y Justicia Fernando Londono Hoyos Ministerio del Interior y Justicia Palacio Echeverry, Carrera 8a, No.8-09, piso 2o., Santafe de Bogota, Colombia Fax:00 57 1 286 8025 E-mail:;