"By all accounts, your father was an amazing man. That his vision and inspiration continues on to this day is a testament to him. There is no telling how much more he would have accomplished had his life not been taken from him." - James Clancy, NUPGE national president
Ottawa (28 Feb. 2011) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has sent a message of solidarity to Yessika Hoyos Morales on the 10th anniversary of the assassination of her father, Colombian trade union leader, Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco.
Yessika addressed the 2010 NUPGE Convention and moved the delegates to unanimously support a funding project with the human rights law collective she works with (more background here).
National President James Clancy wrote, "I wish I could join you in person to commemorate his memory!
By all accounts, your father was an amazing man. That his vision and inspiration continues on to this day is a testament to him. There is no telling how much more he would have accomplished had his life not been taken from him.
I am also aware of the pain inflicted upon you and your family by the actions of his killers. Your continued effort to keep his dreams alive must be the greatest memorial to him that I can think of."
Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco was a father, husband, trade unionist and social and political leader who fought for many years for social justice in Colombia and Latin America. On March 3, 2001, he was murdered from the gunfire of two hit men as he left the home of friends.
For most of his life Darío Hoyos was involved in educating new union leadership and in the months leading up to his murder, he continued this work defending the right to public education and to teaching how to create new trade unions (more on Dario Hoyos here and video here).
But Colombia's activists point out that Darios' fate has been shared by too many of those who struggle for justice in their violence-torn country.
In his letter Clancy said given that "so many women and men have been the victims of violence in your country, it is a strong indictment of successive Colombian governments. So many families have had to experience such terrible loss."
Clancy also sees hope in the midst of the human rights crisis in Colombia.
"But, while some might say little has changed these past ten years, I don’t believe that is true.
Foremost, I believe the Colombian people are growing stronger as the years pass. I have no doubt you will overcome the violence in your country and emerge to provide inspiration to the people of the world.
In addition, activists around the world have risen in solidarity with Colombians. The truth about the situation in Colombia is being spoken of in gatherings around the globe. After your address at our Convention last June, solidarity committees have sprouted up across the country.
Finally, even governments have been forced to recognize the immense injustices that are being perpetrated in Colombia. They may try to either ignore or deny the evidence, as the Canadian government has, in the interest of promoting business interests. But they are increasingly on the defensive for their actions."
The letter ends with a pledge from the National Union to "continue to support the Colombian people in your pursuit of a just and lasting peace. We are inspired by the strength of character that men like your father and countless other Colombian activists and leaders have demonstrated."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE