Honduras: Four trade unionists murdered

photo: Orlando SIERRA AFP

The ITUC condemns the murder of four leaders of the SITRAGSAM trade union in Choloma, Honduras at the weekend.

Thirteen people were killed when gunmen opened fire in a billiards hall, including the four union representatives – STRAGSAM President Xiomar Cocas, former President Delmer Garcia and delegates Lesther Almendarez and José Rufino Ortíz. Eduardo Alexander Meléndez Cocas, the son of Xiomar Cocas is also believed to be amongst the victims.

The murders may be linked to false rumours that the union was responsible for the announcement last week that the Gildan textile plant in the town of San Miguel would be closed. The town is also a flashpoint for the violent reaction by criminal gangs against government attempts to tackle organised crime.

The government of Honduras has offered a reward for any information about who carried out the killings.

ITUC Acting General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “There must be a full and credible investigation to bring the perpetrators of this atrocity to justice without delay. Honduras has an appalling record of killings, intimidation and violence against workers and their unions, with hundreds of murders remaining unsolved over several years.

“The authorities must bring the climate of impunity to an end and ensure that trade unionists are protected and workers’ rights respected. Companies doing business in or with Honduras must also accept their responsibilities.”

In the 2022 ITUC Global Rights Index, Honduras is rated 5 – no guarantee of rights.