EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 34/22/95
29 August 1995
Further information on UA 395/94 (AMR 34/43/94, 3 November 1994) and follow-ups
(AMR 34/06/95, 9 March 1995, AMR 34/14/95, 25 May) - Fear for safety
GUATEMALADébora GUZMÁN CHUPÉN (f), trade unionist, aged 23, wife of Félix
González, trade union leader
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Débora Guzmán Chupén,
following the latest in a series of death threats against her.
On 21 August 1995, Débora Guzmán, who is pregnant, left the M y J Modas factory
to do some shopping. According to reports, she noticed a black car with tinted
glass near the factory. A few minutes later a child handed her an anonymous
letter he had been given by the occupants of the car. The note said,
"Remember that you have had a long time and that we have left you alone. If
you love your baby, convince your husband since neither of you has taken any
notice. But if he loves his baby, he will have to decide now: either leave
the union or his wife and child will pay the consequences. Remember what we
say. Urge him to resign and if he doesn't he will know who we are. If the
last time, we didn't do anything, this time everyone will pay, even the baby.
Ask your husband what he prefers: to have you alive or dead".
("Acuérdese que lleva mucho tiempo y la hemos dejado estar. Si quiere usted
a su bébé exígale a su marido ya que ninguno de los dos hace caso. Pero si
él quiere a su bébé tendrá que decidirse ahora: o deja el sindicato o pagarán
las consecuencias su mujer y su hijo. Acuérdese lo que le decimos. Exígale
que renuncie y si no ya saberá quienes somos nosostros. Si la vez pasada no
se le hizo nada, esta vez pagará todo y hasta su bébé. Dígale a su marido
que prefiere: tenerla viva o muerta.")
Débora Guzmán's husband, Félix González, is a leading trade unionist at the
Lunafil S. A. textile factory in Amatitlán, Department of Guatemala. He and
a group of 49 workers have suffered a series of threats and other acts of
intimidation as a result of a protest they began in May 1994 against what they
perceived to be the illegal and unjustified closure of the textile factory.
Débora Guzmán herself has received several death threats and was abducted
in February 1995 when she was told that she would be killed if she failed to
convince her husband to relinquish his trade union activities. She was
subsequently threatened in May.
An Amnesty International delegation visited Guatemala earlier this year and
met with Débora Guzmán, Félix González and the workers at Lunafil to obtain
first-hand testimonies regarding the harassment they had been suffering. It
would appear that, despite the threats against Débora Guzmán and her abduction
in February, the authorities have not initiated any inquiries. It is believed
that, as occurred in the context of previous labour disputes at Lunafil in
1987 and 1988, private security guards hired by the Lunafil management and
acting with the acquiescence or complicity of the Guatemalan security forces
may be responsible for the abuses against Débora Guzmán and other recent
violations against unionists in the textile sector.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language: