BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A gunman opened fire on a labor leader in the Colombia city of Cali but missed, killing the man’s brother and wounding two other people, including a 4-year-old girl, police said Thursday.
Adolfo Devia, vice president of the Cali Municipal Corporations Workers Union, escaped the Wednesday night attack uninjured, Cali police chief Fabio Castaneda told The Associated Press. But his 26-year-old brother, Jonathan, died of a gunshot to the head, Castaneda said.
He said neither of the two people wounded were in serious condition.
Colombia’s national police director, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, said the 21-year-old gunman was captured by the union leader’s bodyguards and was being questioned.
Two other leaders of the union, known as SINTRAEMCALI, received death threats last month signed by The Black Eagles, a far-right militia, inviting them to their own funerals, according to a letter that 10 U.S. congressmen sent to U.S. President Barack Obama last week.
Noting “an intensification of violence against labor activists” in Colombia, the letter urged Obama to ensure the Andean nation keeps its commitments to protect labor leaders under a free trade agreement between the countries that had just taken effect.
SINTRAEMCALI has been pushing for reinstatement of 51 workers that it says were illegally fired for union activities and that the International Labor Federation has recommended be rehired.
Colombia is the world’s most dangerous country for union organizers, according to the International Trade Union Confederation.
So far this year, seven trade unionists have been killed in Colombia, compared to 30 for all of last year, said the National Union School, which keeps count.