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Guatemala: Further information on fear for safety: Felix Gonzalez, Debora Guzman Chupen (his wife), Julio Coj, Jose Gil and 49 workers of Lunafil S.A.

, Index number: AMR 34/006/1995

Since the issue of the original action in November 1994, further incidents have greatly increased concern for those named above. On 28 February 1995, Debora Guzman Chupen, a trade union leader and wife of Felix Gonzalez, was abducted. She claims to have been drugged, struck with a solid object and threatened with death during her abduction. She was released on 1 March. On 4 March, heavily armed men drove past the factory where the trade unionists were gathered and fired shots in the air.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/06/95
Distr: UA/SC
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.
Following the abduction of Débora Guzmán on 4 March, a group of heavily armed
men in a pick-up truck with darkened windows drove past the Lunafil factory,
where members of the union were gathered, and fired shots in the air.
On 5 March, at approximately 6.30pm, Débora Guzmán and Félix González received
another (written) threat at their home which said "Señorah lla sabe lo que
es estar secuestrada. le pedimos que exija a su marido la renuncia solo le
dejamos setenta y dos horas mas sino cumpliremos con la que le dijimos sabemos
que no tiene miedo pero lo aremos para demostrarle que podemos..." [sic].
("Madam, now you know what it is like to be kidnapped, we request that you
insist that your husband resign, he has only seventy two hours to do so or
we will carry out what we told you, we know you are not afraid, but we will
do it to demonstrate what we are capable of...").
Later that day, heavily armed men again passed the Lunafil factory and again
fired shots into the air. The men were believed to be the same as those who
had fired the shots the previous day.
As with the previous series of threats, the workers believe that members of
private security guards, hired by the Lunafil management during past disputes
in 1987 and 1988, may have been responsible for some of these incidents. No
official investigation has been opened.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express and airmail
- expressing concern at the abduction of Débora Guzmán Chupén and at the serious
threats made against her, her husband Félix González, and other workers from
the Lunafil factory;
- asking the government to take immediate measures to guarantee their safety
and that of their families;
- pointing out that, as private security firms must, by law, be licensed by
the National Police and the Ministry of Interior, Amnesty International
considers the Guatemalan authorities responsible for investigating these
incidents and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
[NOTE: when sending faxes, it is best to try very early in the morning or very
late at night, Guatelama time. If you get a voice answer, ask "me da tono
de fax, por favor".]
1) President of the Republic
S.E. Ramiro de León Carpio
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Presidente de León Carpio, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 537472/515667
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente / Dear President
2) Minister of Interior
Lic. Carlos Enrique Reynoso
Ministro de Gobernación,
Ministerio de Gobernación
Despacho Ministerial, Of. No. 8
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Gobernación, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 515 368 / 518 105
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
3) Minister of Labour and Social Welfare
Sra. Gladys Morfin
Ministro de Trabajo y Previsión Social
Ministerio de Trabajo y Previsión Social
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministra de Trabajo y Previsión Social Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 513 559, 532 345
Salutation: Sra. Ministra / Dear Minister
Attorney General
Lic. Ramses Cuestas Gómez
Fiscal General de la Nación
Ministerio Público
18 Calle 10-36, Zona 1
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 536554
+ 502 2 530482
Human Rights Procurator
Lic. Jorge García Laguardia
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72
Zona 1, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Trade union
Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de
Guatemala (UNSITRAGUA)
11 Calle 8-14, Zona 1
Oficina 34, Tercer Nivel
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
and to diplomatic representatives of Guatemala accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 April 1995.

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