Drink of the Death Squads

Coke came to Colombia
Seeking lower wages
They got just what they came for
But as we turn the pages
We find the workers didn’t like the sound
Of their children’s hungry cries
So they said we’ll join the union
And they began to organize

So Coke called up a terrorist group
Called the AUC
They said “we’ve got some problems
At the factory”
So these thugs went to the plant
Killed two union men
Told the rest, “you leave the union
Or we’ll be back again”

Now Coke did not complain
About this dirty deed
Why give workers higher wages
When Coke is all they really need
They phoned the AUC
Said “thanks, without you we’d go broke
And to show our appreciation
Here’s one hundred cases of Coke”

The baby drinks it in his bottle
When the water ain’t no good
The dog drinks it
But he don’t know if he should
Some folks say
It’s the nectar of the Gods
But Coke is the drink of the Death Squads

Well the workers wouldn’t take
This situation lying down
Some went up to Georgia
Said “look what’s happened to our town
You American workers got downsized
And as for us we just get shot
And those of us who survive
Our teeth begin to rot”


Well now that’s the situation
What are you gonna do
‘Cause death squads run Colombia
And they’re paid by me and you
We can let Coke run the world
And see what future that will bring
Or we can drink juice and smash the state
Now that’s the real thing


“Drink of the Death Squads” first appeared on the 2002 CD, Hang A Flag in the Window.

Mary Foster gave me the hook line, and thus, really deserves co-writer credit for the song. Soon after writing the song, I traveled around the southeastern US with several folks, including Colombian labor organizer, William Mendoza. Mendoza is now president of Sinaltranal, the food and beverage workers union of Colombia. The song is about an incident that had taken place earlier, when members of the rightwing paramilitary group, AUC, had killed two Sinaltranal union members on the floor of a Coca-Cola factory. Then the AUC camped out in front of the factory afterward, demonstrating the fact that the government had no intention of doing anything to stop their acts of terrorism against the Colombian labor movement and the Colombian working class generally.