Farm Labor Organizer Murdered in Mexico

A union organizer with an AFL-CIO affiliated group that fights for migrant and immigrant agricultural workers was found murdered in the group’s office in Monterrey, Mexico last week.

Santiago Rafael Cruz, of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, was found tied up in his office and beaten to death.

"It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee that a staff member has been murdered," said FLOC spokesperson Michael Hale. "Nothing was stolen. This is not looking like it was a crime of theft or a random act of violence, but rather a targeted attack on FLOC."

Cruz, originally from Oaxaca, had to abandon his farm in Mexico with his family because he was one of the millions of Mexican "victims" of NAFTA. He migrated to the United States and eventually found work with FLOC in its Toledo, Ohio office. U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from the Ohio district where Rafael Cruz previously worked for FLOC and the AFL-CIO have requested that the U.S. State Department urge for a "a speedy and judicious processing of the case."

"The AFL-CIO will vigorously defend the rights of Mexican migrant workers to organize with FLOC, and we will not rest until justice is done in the case of Santiago Rafael Cruz," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.