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UPDATE: Groups seek prosecution of Nestle for murder of Colombian trade unionist

Luciano Romero

Luciano Romero

James Bargent writes in AlterNet about the murder of Luciano Romero, a trade unionist and worker at CICOLAC, a Nestle powdered milk factory in Colombia.

Romero was murdered on the night of September 5, 2005 by paramilitary killers from the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in their dirty war against trade unionists. In 2007, his killers were convicted of their crime. Bargent notes, “When passing sentence, Judge José Nirio Sánchez ordered an investigation into the intellectual authors of the crime that would scrutinize the role of not only the paramilitary warlord who commanded Romero’s killers, but also the management at the Nestle subsidiary where Romero worked.”

“The case has been taken up by Romero’s union, SINALTRAINAL, and human rights group the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). In 2012, the organizations filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland demanding the prosecution of Nestle for Romero’s murder.”

The paramilitary that controlled the city of Valledupar and the state of Cesar where the Nestle factory was located was “financed by the region’s cattle ranchers, dairy farmers and other land owners and economic interests. Among them was CICOLAC…”

Sadly, Bargent notes violence against other trade unionists at CICOLAC, including, “Victor Mieles and his wife (who) were abducted in front of one of Nestlé’s Cesar factories and later murdered.”

Last week, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights reported, “Fourteen months after receiving a criminal complaint, the office of public prosecution in the Swiss Canton of Waadt decided on 1 May 2013 not to investigate whether Nestlé and its managers were liable for negligently contributing to the death of Colombian Nestlé trade unionist Luciano Romero.”

For more, please read ‘Is Nestle Involved in Murder Of Colombian Union Leader?’ and ‘Nestle has nothing to fear from Swiss legal system’.