Miguel had been imprisoned between May 2009 and June 2011. He wasn’t a union leader- he was a trade union member and was doing academic work on sociology, which was interpreted as terrorism. When he was in prison, he was visited by an international delegation from Justice for Columbia, including Christine Blower, and he spoke of how moving this was for him and other political prisoners.
On the delegation, Steve Gillan, the General Secretary of the UK's Prison Officers' Association observed:
"I worked in British prisons for more than 20 years, but nothing prepared me for the suffering and injustice I saw inflicted on our trade union colleagues held in Buen Pastor Prison, Colombia. As trade unionists, we must do everything in our power to stop these abuses."Miguel praised the solidarity shown by NUT to brother and sister trades unionists - Colombia is a dangerous country to be a trade unionist- especially a teacher trade unionist- there have been hundreds of assassinations and others being imprisoned for the crime of campaigning for the best future for education and children ! He considers himself one of the lucky ones- but because of his critical academic work, he was imprisoned for two years in a maximum security prison. He was heartened during this difficult experience by the support and solidarity shown by human rights groups, trade unionists and others outside Columbia.
"Solidarity has no borders, I realised we all share same hopes and desires for a better society."
Miguel was given a warm standing ovation by the full executive.