ITUC OnLine – February 15, 2007

Brussels, 15 February 2007 (ITUC OnLine): Two trade unionists were murdered on 6 February in Guatemala. Walter Aníbal Ixcaquic Mendoza and Norma Sente de Ixcaquic were members of the Frente Nacional de Vendedores de Guatemala, affiliated to the Federación Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes (FESTRI) and the CGT. The International Trade Union Confederation once again strongly condemns these murders, which have sent into mourning Guatemalan families, the national trade union movement, and the whole trade union family at regional and international level.

It is not the first time that the ITUC has denounced antiunion violence in Guatemala. Just two weeks ago a joint delegation of representatives from the International Transport Federations (ITF) and the ITUC travelled to Guatemala to press the authorities to clear up the murder of the port union (STEPQ) leader, Pedro Zamora Álvarez, who was killed on 15 January (Click here to see article).  In an official complaint lodged with the International Labour Organisation, the ITF and the ITUC demanded a full investigation into the murder of Zamora.

Guatemala is a currently a country where there is no rule of law, where the vilest of crimes are committed with total impunity, and where the public powers responsible for resolving them do nothing to ensure respect for the law protecting the safety and the lives of Guatemala’s citizens. More than 6,000 people were murdered in 2006.

The ITUC once again calls on the Guatemalan authorities to carry out an exhaustive investigation into these new crimes, to arrest those responsible, and bring them to justice.  Failing that, the ITUC will be obliged to file another complaint with the International Labour Organisation.