This petition is not intended to result in any punishment, boycott, etc. of Stephen Colbert. He is a brilliant political satirist, and I remain an ardent fan of his. I would, however, like him to use, as a teachable moment, the instance of his poor choice of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as part of a joke in his "Secret Service Sex Scandal" segment on his Monday, April 16th program.
The U.S.-Colombia FTA is an unwarranted concession to the Colombian government, given that the latter has not adequately improved protections for trade unionists. For the past several decades, Colombia has led the world in murders of trade unionists, most years having had more trade unionist killings than the rest of the world combined. Last year these murders numbered 30, and so far in 2012, between 4 and 6 have been killed. If Colombian CEOs, rather than trade unionists, had been killed in such great numbers every year, it seems unlikely that the FTA would have passed.
This is the furthest thing possible from a laughing matter. Most people, though, don't know about this violence, or how the FTA expresses that the U.S. government finds this level of killings "acceptable" enough to reward the Colombian government with relaxed trade restrictions. Although the U.S. and Colombia have signed a Labor Action Plan (LAP) to curb anti-union violence and other labor abuses in Colombia, the reality on the ground has not measured up to what is stipulated by the LAP. The killings continue, as do abusive forms of contracting workers.
Please take this opportunity to bring attention to the important issue of anti-union violence in Colombia, which part of a larger panorama of anti-civil society violence in that country. The FTA represents a grave threat to Colombian workers (as well as to other marginalized groups and to the environment itself), and it would behoove influential public figures such as yourself to make this known to the American public.
As a fellow son of the South, please stand with me on this.
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