EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/06/95
9 March 1995
Further information on UA 395/94 (AMR 34/43/94, 3 November 1994) - Fear for
GUATEMALA Félix GONZÁLEZ, trade union leader
Débora GUZMÁN CHUPÉN, trade union leader, aged 23, wife of Félix González
Julio COJ, trade union leader
José GIL, trade unionist
and 49 workers at Lunafil S.A.
In November 1994, Amnesty International reported that workers and trade union
leaders at the Lunafil S.A. textile factory in Amatitlán, Department of
Guatemala, were repeatedly being subjected to death threats and other acts
of intimidation. The threats and harassment began in May 1994, when a group
of 49 of them began a protest outside the factory against what they claim to
be its illegal and unjustified closure with the subsequent loss of 200 jobs.
Since then, further threats have greatly heightened concern for the safety
of those named above.
On 28 February 1995 Débora Guzmán Chupén, a trade union leader with the trade
union of L y L Modas, a maquiladora de ropa (a clothing factory) in Amatitlán,
and the wife of Félix González, a trade union leader with the Lunafil factory,
was abducted. She was released a day later on 1 March. During her abduction
she was drugged and threatened with death.
According to Débora Guzmán at 9.30 am on 28 February, while she was out shopping
she was intercepted by two heavily armed men and forced into a car. She was
blindfolded and her hands were tied; she was then put into a second vehicle
where were there two other people, one of whom she said was a woman. She was
then administered some kind of drug, which caused her to lose consciousness.
The following day, she awoke at approximately 8.00am in a large room. She
reports that she was taken out of the building and into a car where her captors
made a telephone call to the Central Office of the Unión Sindical de Trabajadores
de Guatemala (UNSITRAGUA), Guatemalan Workers' Union. She was told "...tiene
que exigirle a la persona que conteste, que su marido se salga del Sindicato
de Lunafil, porque sino usted no regresará con él..." ("tell the person who
answers to tell your husband to leave the Lunafil union, because if he does
not, you will not be coming back to him..."). The person who took the call
stated that when he tried to talk to Débora Guzmán after she had transmitted
the message, the call was cut off. After the telephone call Débora Guzmán
received a blow from a solid object and was told "..usted es muy necia, no
dijo la que tenía que decir, se la lleva de que no tiene miedo a morir, mire
esto es apenas una amenaza, la próxima vez vamos a cumplir con lo que decimos..."
("you are very stupid, you didn't say what you were supposed to, so I take
it you are not afraid to die, listen, this is just a warning, the next time
we will carry out what we say..."). The women then told her "...a nosotros
nos ordenaron que la detuvieramos sólo 24 horas y que no le hicieramos ningún
daño, sólo que la dejaramos perdida..." ("...we were ordered to detain you
for 24 hours and that we were not to harm you and that we should leave you
lost somewhere...."). Débora Guzmán reports being driven for several hours,
before being released in the department of Totonicapán, blindfolded, with her
hands tied behind her. She is currently under medical supervision as a result
of her ordeal.