Guatemala: rising tide of violence

Anti-union violence in Guatemala has reached untenable proportions with the murder of trade union leader Enrique Linares from the Río Chiquito community. The national, regional and international trade union movement can no longer tolerate the violence that has been unfolding since 4 July.

Enrique Linares was fighting against the abuses being suffered at the hands of the electricity distribution company DEORSA. He has become yet another victim of the anti-union violence and the campaign of repression and terror organised by the most powerful sectors in Guatemala.

"The Guatemalan authorities cannot keep looking the other way," insisted ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "President Pérez Molina must assume his responsibilities, investigate these murders and bring an end to the pervasive climate of violence and impunity that is destabilising the Rule of Law."

The international trade union movement is deeply concerned by the fact that the ITUC has had to send four letters to President Pérez Molina regarding two armed attacks and three murders of trade union, campesino and indigenous leaders at the very same time as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is signing an agreement with Guatemala according to which the ILO will work closely with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor General will take action to ensure compliance with trade union and labour rights.

See the letters

"We are ready to launch awareness and pressure campaigns at international level if there is no major change in the situation," added Sharan Burrow.