Fight Back! received the following report from the Colombia Action Network (Chicago). We urge our readers to support the international campaign to boycott Coca-Cola, and to back the effort to end U.S. support to Colombia's death squad government. An international day of protest against killer Coke will take place April 15.
On Tuesday, March 30th, 2004, the Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) Student Government Association passed a resolution in support of the International Boycott of Killer Coke. Nine Colombian trade unionists have been murdered by Coca-Cola death squads, so the Colombia Action Network has been organizing a boycott in the U.S.
The NEIU Alliance to Boycott Coke, which consists of 22 campus clubs who stand with the union workers of Colombia as they fight for their rights, brought the bill to the Student Senate. Colombia Action Network member Alfredo Gomez answered questions from the Student Senate on the boycott, stating "our goal is the removal of Coca-Cola from our campus". Professor Dennis Grammenos gave a moving portrayal of the deadly situation for trade unionists in Carepa, Colombia. The Senate voted 11 in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention. This is a very important victory in the struggle to kick the killer off campus. NEIU, often called "the teachers' college", has a largely working class and immigrant student body. Alfredo Gomez said "Our victorious vote today in front of over fifty students and staff should send the corporate bosses at Coke and the Administrators at our campus a strong message. No more Coca-Cola on campus!"
Northeastern Illinois University Alliance to Boycott Coke
Resolution for the Student Government Association:
Where As: We the students of Northeastern Illinois University understand that the university has an exclusive sponsorship agreement with the Coca-Cola USA/International. The financial terms are withheld from the student body. Also Coca-Cola is the sole vendor of soda pop, juice and water on campus.
Where As: Consistent, credible reports by the press and human rights groups have documented serious human rights violations in facilities producing Coca-Cola products in Colombia, South America, including kidnapping, torture, and murder of workers in efforts to request better pay and safer work conditions.
Where As: The exclusive nature of the contract limits choice on campus thereby limiting the ability for consumers to make educated decisions based on individual and community benefits, the working conditions of workers, human rights issues, and price comparisons.
Where As: Seeing as NEIU stands for the education and promotion of humane and responsible indivuals, it is contrary to what the university stands for if it continues to align itself with the corporation's continued violations of human rights. Also it can lead to a defamation of the universities name.
Therefore, Let it be Resolved: That we students of NEIU disapprove of the exclusive nature of the sponsorship agreement, the complete terms which are withheld, and are deeply troubled by the accusations against the Coca-Cola Corporation until time the Coca-Cola Corporation takes action to protect all workers in the bottling plants in Colombia.