La legendaria piloto de Avianca que Efromovich despidióMaribel Porras was the first woman to command a Boeing 767 in Latin America. She recently supported the Avianca pilot strike and the airline retaliated by forcing her into retirement. A warning for anyone who crosses Bolivian-born tycoon Germán Efromovich.
“Avianca can no longer stand this. The pilots leading the strike just won’t negotiate. Now we will have to leave the decision to the justice system”, Efromovich was quoted as saying. The airline had warned that if the strike was considered to be illegal, any pilots who did not report to work would be fired.
Colombia’s justice system has been exposed as vastly corrupt
. Even the highest courts are not immune from scandal, whether it be corruption allegations, apparent cases of conflict of interests or anything in between.
Earlier this month, the Sala Laboral del Tribunal Superior de Bogotá
, which should not have acted before the strike reached sixty days, ruled the strike illegal on the grounds that airline travel is an essential public service
. Lawyers for the pilot union (Asociación Colombiana de Aviadores Civiles – ACDAC)
have appealed the ruling before the Sala de Casación Laboral de la Corte Suprema de Justicia
Colombian law forbids those offering essential services from striking (as does Costa Rican law, for that matter). However, the International Labor Organization
, a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to improving labor conditions and living standards throughout the world, does not consider airline pilots an essential service requiring curtailment of their right to strike.
Efromovich is by no means a stranger to controversy. Several months ago, he accused
Argentinean labor unions, whom he harshly criticized for opposing deregulation, of “not wanting to work” because they would rather "suck on the breast of the cow that we call the government."
At the onset of a no-holds-barred legal battle with Avianca’s second-biggest shareholder, Efromovich was accused
of “plundering" the airline to “fend off financial ruin” at his other businesses that are “bleeding financially” due to “soured energy investments”, “bad bets” and “badly performing investments in Brazil.”
Entre el fuerte y el débil, la libertad oprime. Sólo la ley libera.