Guatemalan trade unionists face appalling situation

The murder of Victor Galvez at the end of last month was yet another tragic example of the appalling situation facing trade unionists in Guatemala.

Sr. Galvez was not just a trade union leader, he was a community leader and a member of the national resources and protection and resistance front, FRENA, part of the Guatemalan labour, indigenous and campesino movement, MSICG.

These combined roles as a defender of labour and human rights marked him out to his killers in a country where for far too long a culture of impunity has existed for those who kill men and women simply for trying to achieve basic rights and social justice.

Trade unionists face daily threats: most recently a large group of women workers protesting against conditions in a major fruit producer were held hostage by being locked into the entrance of the labour ministry after they had attempted to hand in a petition.

Whilst trapped they were threatened by guards and photographed by the police.

It is vital that the authorities know that despite the lack of media coverage around the world people are watching what is happening and standing in solidarity with our colleagues. The ITUC has protested (Spanish version only).

Sam Gurney

PS – see this interview with Imelda López (CGTG-Guatemala) for more information.

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