Document - Guatemala: Trade unionist and her legal advisors at risk

UA: 121/10 Index: AMR 34/006/2010 Guatemala Date: 21 May 2010


Trade unionist and her legal advisors at risk

A pregnant garment factory worker has been threatened and pressured to leave her job or quit the union. The lawyers who advise her have been followed and, their office was broken into after a press conference where the intimidation against union members was reported.

On 21 April, Delfina Vicente Yac, Executive Secretary of the union in the garments factory in Guatemala City where she works, was summoned to a meeting with a company manager. During the meeting, the manager tried to persuade Delfina Vicente Yac to either leave her job or quit her membership of the union, telling her “It’s better that you leave the Committee…why are you risking your life there?” (es mejor que salga del Comité…Porque está arriesgando allí su vida?). The manager called Delfina Vicente Yac into a further meeting on 22 April where he tried to pressure her again into leaving her job, telling her “your life is in danger…we’re going to chop you up” (su vida corre riesgo…los vamos a hacer pedacitos).

Guatemalan human rights and trade union organizations held a press conference on 12 May, where Delfina Vicente publicly spoke about the pressures she was facing to leave her job or quit the union. Alejandro Argueta Ramírez and Silvia Trujillo Bennett, the lawyer and legal advisor who are advising Delfina Vicente, were also present. On 13 May, when Alejandro Arguetaarrived at their office, he discovered that there had been a break-in. Nothing of value had been taken, but one of the firm’s laptop computers, a hard drive and Alejandro Argueta’s mobile phone had been left out on a desk. These items had been stored securely the night before. Since the end of January, Alejandro Argueta and Silvia Trujillo have received approximately 30 anonymous phone calls to their office, or to Silvia Trujillo’s mobile phone. The callers either ask for people who they do not know, or hang up once the call is answered. Two weeks ago they also received an anonymous phone call to their home in the early hours of the morning. It has been reported that on several occasions since around the end of March, unknown individuals have followed Alejandro Argueta and Silvia Trujillo as they drive home from their office.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:

  • calling for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats and acts of intimidation against Delfina Vicente Yac, and into the intimidation of, and break in at the offices of, her legal advisors Alejandro Argueta and Silvia Trujillo, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;

  • urging that the authorities take immediate steps to provide appropriate protection to Delfina Vicente Yac, Alejandro Argueta and Silvia Trujillo, in accordance with their wishes.


Attorney General and Head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office

Doctor Conrado Arnulfo Reyes Sagastume

Fiscal General de la República y Jefe del Ministerio Público

15ª Avenida 15-16, Zona 1, Barrio Gerona

Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA

Fax:+502 2411 9124

Salutation: Dear Attorney General / Estimado Sr. Fiscal General

Minister of the Interior/ Ministro de Gobernación:

Lic. Carlos Menocal

Ministro de Gobernación

6ª Avenida 13-71, Zona 1,

Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA

Fax: +502 2413 8658

Salutation: Dear Minister/ Estimado Sr. Ministro

And copies to:


1 Calle 7-45 zona 1,

Oficina 2-b,

Ciudad de Guatemala


Fax: +502 2254 5840


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


Trade unionist and her legal advisors at risk

UA: 121/10 Index: AMR 34/006/2010 Issue Date: 21 May 2010

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