Assassinations Continue in Guatemala

The ITUC has strongly condemned the assassination of Evelinda Ramírez Reyes, leader of the resistance front for the defence of people and natural resources, FRENA, affiliated to the national resistance front, FNL, which is part of the Guatemalan labour, indigenous and campesino movement, MSICG.

Last week, leaders from the San Marcos branch of FRENA went to the capital to meet with various representatives of the state authorities to denounce the arbitrary acts, abuses and illegalities committed by DEOCSA-UNION FENOSA and government authorities in their application of the “State of Prevention” declared by the government on 22 December 2009.

On 13 January, over 750 people, including the leaders of FRENA, met with government officials to request a restoration of Constitutional guarantees. As four of the leaders were returning home, unknown assailants shot at their vehicle, killing Evelinda Ramírez Reyes.

“The ITUC concurs with the communiqué issued by the URNG_Maíz, Winaq and the MNR, maintaining that this assassination, like so many others, is the result of the impunity enjoyed by parallel powers operating to suppress social and trade union leaders trying to defend human and labour rights. A strengthening of the rule of law is essential, so that the Guatemalan people can freely exercise their fundamental rights,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

In a letter to the Guatemalan authorities, the ITUC called on President Álvaro Colom to intervene directly and immediately to ensure that this case is resolved and that all those responsible are identified and brought to justice, and to take every step necessary to bring an end to the impunity and the anti-union climate prevailing in Guatemala.

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.