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Published: Thursday, 5/10/2007

Kaptur adds voice to calls for inquiry into murder of FLOC organizer


WASHINGTON - Letters urging a thorough and fair investigation into the murder in Mexico of an organizer with a Toledo-based labor union were sent this week by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur and a dozen other Democratic Congressmen to Mexican leaders.

Miss Kaptur of Toledo and the other representatives wrote to Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Nuevo Leon Gov. Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras. Copies of both letters were sent to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The congressmen asked for more attention to the murder of Santiago Rafael Cruz, who was working with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee when he was found beaten to death April 9 in the union's Monterrey, Mexico, office.

The union, which is often called FLOC, represents Mexican migrants who travel to the United States.

FLOC's office in Monterrey was established in 2005 to educate workers about their rights.

That work has brought the union into conflict with labor recruiters who took advantage of workers by charging for access to jobs, the letter says.

The letter goes on to say the Monterrey office has been subject to intimidation, robberies, vandalism, and threats of physical violence.

Signing the letters were Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland; Howard Berman, Linda Sanchez, Hilda Solis, and Lynn Woolsey, all of California; Luis Gutierrez, Phil Hare, and Janice Schakowsky, all of Illinois; Raul Grijalva of Arizona; Maurice Hinchey of New York; James P. McGovern of Massachusetts, and John P. Sarbanes of Maryland.

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