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UA 395/94 - Guatemala: fear for safety: Felix Gonzalez, Debora Guzman (his wife), Julio Coj, Jose Gil and 49 workers of Lunafil S.A.

, N° d'index: AMR 34/043/1994

Workers and trade union leaders at the Lunafil S.A. textile factory in Amatitlan are reported to have been subjected to repeated death threats and other acts of intimidation since May 1994, when a groups of 49 of them began a protest outside the factory against what they claim to be its illegal and unjustified closure. It has been suggested that some of the private security guards hired by Lunafil during previous disputes may have been responsible for some of the recent incidents. No official investigation has been opened.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/43/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 395/94 Fear for Safety 3 November 1994
GUATEMALA Félix GONZÁLEZ, trade union leader
Débora GUZMÁN (f), his wife
Julio COJ, trade union leader
José GIL, trade unionist
and 49 workers of Lunafil S.A.
Workers and trade union leaders at the Lunafil S.A. textile factory in Amatitlán,
Department of Guatemala, are reported to have been subjected to repeated death
threats and other acts of intimidation since 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. A spate
of recent threats has greatly heightened concern for the safety of those named
above.
Incidents reported to Amnesty International include:
• May - unknown men carrying weapons went to José Gil's home several times
to threaten him;
• 6 October - a group of masked men violently intercepted Débora Guzmán and
threatened to kill her within 48 hours if her husband, Félix González, and
Julio Coj did not stop their union activities;
7 October - the offices of the Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guatemala
(UNSITRAGUA), Guatemalan Workers Labour Union, to which Lunafil's trade union
is affiliated, received several anonymous phone calls. In the last of these,
the callers stated that they were holding Débora Guzmán and that her life was
in her husband's hands;
• 8 October - Débora Guzmán and Félix González received an anonymous letter
at home reiterating the threats.
Other members of the family of Débora Guzmán and Félix González are also reported
to have been subjected to acts of intimidation; in one incident Félix González's
brother was shot at by unknown individuals.
The workers suggest that members of private security guards, hired by the Lunafil
management during another dispute in 1987 and 1988, may have been responsible
for some of these incidents. No official investigation has been opened.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Trade unionists have been a long-term target of human rights violations in
Guatemala and recent months have seen a renewed wave of abuses against them.
In a previous dispute at Lunafil, from June 1987 to May 1988, Lunafil's workers
carried out an occupation after labour negotiations broke down due to
disagreements over working hours and conditions that management were trying
to impose, and which the workers said were in breach of Guatemala's Labour
Code. On 27 May 1988, Julio Coj was shot at, reportedly from a police car,
when riot police was trying to end the occupation.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the serious threats and acts of intimidation against
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Félix González, Julio Coj, José Gil and Débora Guzmán;
- urging the government to take immediate measures to guarantee their safety
and that of their families;
- asking the government to take measures to guarantee the safety of all Lunafil
workers, especially those demonstrating outside Lunafil S.A.;
- asking that these incidents be fully investigated and that those found to
be responsible be brought to justice;
- stressing 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.
APPEALS TO
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 2 347 364
Telexes: 5331 CAPRES GU
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente /Dear President
2) Minister of Interior:
Lic. Danilo Parrinello Blanco
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
Telexes: 5085 MINGOB
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
3) Director General of National Police
Lic. Salvador Figueroa
Director General de la Policía Nacional
6 Avenida 13-71, Zona 1
Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Director General de la Policia Nacional, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telephone: + 502 2 516268, 519429
Faxes: + 502 2 519382
Salutation: Sr. Director General / Dear Director General
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Human Rights Procurator:
Lic. Jorge García Laguardia
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72, Zona 1,
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 81734
Minister of Labour
Sra. Gladys Morfin
Ministro de Trabajo y Previsión Social
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Ministerio de Trabajo y Previsión Social
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 513559, 532345
Trade Union
Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guatemala
(UNSITRAGUA)
11 Calle 8-14, Of. 34,
Tercer Nivel,
Zona 1, 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 15 December 1994.

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