Saturday, April 2, 2011


Coca-Cola is evidently immoral, corrupt and complicity in murder.

            Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola is a lawsuit filed in 2001 by the Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal (National Union of Food Workers) in a Miami district court. Sinaltrainal alleges that Panamco, a Colombian Coca-Cola bottling company, assisted paramilitaries in murdering several union members. The union attempted to use the Alien Tort Claims Act to bring the case into a US district court, as the human rights violation occurred in Colombia. The ATCA grants U.S. courts jurisdiction in any dispute where it is alleged that a tort has been committed in violation of the “law of nations” or a treaty of the United States. The lawsuit and campaign aim to force Coca-Cola to prevent further bloodshed and to provide safe working conditions.
            Coca-Cola bottlers “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilize extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders,” the lawsuit states.
            In 2003, the Court removed The Coca-Cola Company as a defendant because the murder occurred outside the United States and was thus considered too far removed (physically and causally) from the company's Atlanta headquarters. Federal Judge Jose E. Martinez allowed the case to go forward against two Coca-Cola bottlers: Bebidas y Alimentos and Panamerican Beverages, but not against Coke itself. On September 4, 2006, Judge Martinez dismissed the remaining claims against the two bottlers.

            Coca-Cola, which is virulently anti-union, claims that any allegations that its bottlers in Colombia are involved in the systematic intimidation, kidnapping, torture, and murder of union leaders are false. But no court in Colombia has ever ruled on the human rights claims against Coca-Cola. U.S. State Department human rights reports point out that only a handful of the thousands of murders of Colombian trade unionists in recent years have ever resulted in successful prosecutions. "Cases where the instigators and perpetrators of the murders of trade union leaders are identified as practically nonexistent, as is the handing down of guilty verdicts," said the State Department. So it's not surprising that the plaintiffs cannot secure justice through Colombian courts. That's why they're seeking redress through U.S. courts in the first place.

            First bottling-plant worker in Colombia killed

            Three more workers killed.

December 5, 1996
            Isidro Gil killed by paramilitaries &
Union building burned down

December 7, 1996
            Paramilitaries gather workers and have them sign union resignations.

July 20, 2001
            Lawsuit filed in Miami

March 13, 2003
            District Court judgement on Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola

April 16, 2003
            "Killer Coke" campaign is launched

April 13, 2005
            Coca-Cola commissioned study finds no Colombian anti-union violence

December, 2005
            The University of Michigan and New York University ban Coke products from their campuses.