The GeneraL Union of Workers in the Construction Materials Industry (SUTIMAC) denounced the murder of union leader José Fernel Manrique Valencia, on Monday, February 25 2019, in the city of Bucaramanga, when two men travelling by motorcycle opened fire on the trade union leader, who died in front of his home in the Café Madrid neighbourhood.
According to Miguel Sierra, a companion of the deceased leader 34 year old José Manrique, he worked as an operator for the multinational cement company Cemex Colombia where he had been working for ten years. He was also part of the Sectional Board of Directors.
Sierra, who was one of the last to speak with José, indicated that he had been off work for six months after losing part of a lower limb in a traffic accident, but that he was soon to return to his duties as an operative.
According to Sierra, the reasons for José’s murder are still unknown. However the trade union has expressed concern for the safety of other leaders who had also received death threats, as the government withdrew the protection that was assigned to them by the National Protection Unit, alleging a lack of budget. Since the foundation of SUTIMAC in 1972, more than 40 leaders of the union have been killed, none of which have as yet been resolved.