Comunes Party Senator Sandra Ramirez noted that the massacre was ordered by the Government of Miguel Abadia Mendez and was perpetrated by the National Army in Cienaga, Magdalena.
The massacre of the United Fruit Company workers occurred on December 5 and 6, 1928, after the Government of conservative President Miguel Abadia Mendez decided to end a one-month strike organized by the union that sought to guarantee better working conditions, the Colombian Communist Party pointed out.
On October 6 that year, an assembly of the Workers’ Union in Magdalena, in Cienaga, unanimously approved the list of demands in which they asked the United Fruit Company and national producers for mandatory collective insurance, compensation for labor accidents, clean dormitories and six-day work weeks.
They also demanded a 50-percent wage increase for workers who earned less than 100 pesos a month, the abolition of payment through coupons rather than money, weekly wage, the abolition of the contract labor system and improvement of hospital services.
The United Fruit Company considered the workers’ demands a threat to its operations in Colombia. If the workers imposed them, the Company would have had to increase wages and the purchase price to the Colombian growers.
Faced with the Company’s refusal, the largest strike in Colombian history broke out on November 28 that year, when more than 25,000 plantation workers refused to cut bananas produced by the United Fruit Company and by national growers under contract with the company.