The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) recently brought the case of the unsolved murder of its organizer Santiago Rafael Cruz before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C., according to an AFL-CIO press release.
Santiago Rafael Cruz was tortured and beaten to death inside the FLOC office in Monterrey, Mexico, on April 9, 2007. Cruz had been working to protect the rights of farm workers recruited to work in the U.S. under the Department of Labor's H-2A Visa program.
Following the killing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the murder was committed for political purposes related to the work of FLOC in defense of the rights of migrant workers and granted protective measures to FLOC President Baldemar Velazquez and FLOC staff located in Mexico. However, the Mexican government has repeatedly failed to act to bring the assassins to justice. Of the four people who are known to have participated in the murder all but one of Cruz's killers remain at large. Despite this continued threat, the Mexican government recently appealed to the IACHR to drop the protective measures previously granted.
"Human rights and labor rights will remain unrealized unless we persist in challenging the criminal elements who would like to use recruitment programs for bribes and extortion" said Baldemar Velasquez, president of FLOC, at the audience today.
This case is just one example of the great risks labor organizers face in many countries across the globe. FLOC and the AFL-CIO anticipate that today's audience with the IACHR will bring more attention to Cruz's case and call on the Mexican government to enforce the law and bring Cruz's murderers to justice.
Human rights group hears unsolved case of labor organizer's murder (11/12)
November 12, 2009