H.E. Mr Acisclo Valladares Molina
Embassy of Guatemala
13 Fawcett Street
Assassination of Banana Workers Union Activist Miguel Angel Gonzalez Ramirez
On behalf the TUC, British workers and the 6.2 million members in our affiliated unions I write to highlight the murder of another trade unionist in Guatemala.
Mr Miguel Angel Gonzalez Ramirez, a member of the Izabal banana workers union SITRABI was shot repeatedly, whilst holding one of his children in his arms, on 5 February 2012.
He was involved in an ongoing dispute with the Del Monte subsidiary BANDEGUA over their refusal to meet the new minimum wage set by your government. A number of other SITRABI leaders were killed or attacked in 2011 and it appears clear that there is an orchestrated campaign to intimate them and stop them protecting the rights of their members.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has written to President Otto Perez Molina asking him to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of SITRABI members and leaders, fully investigate the murder of Mr Gonzalez and help settle the wage dispute at BANDEGUA.
My office has now made a number of attempts to arrange a meeting with you or appropriate colleagues at the Guatemalan embassy in London, but have yet to receive any positive response.
We will be stepping up our campaign to support our colleagues in Guatemala this year, including publicising the level of violence faced by trade unionists and other human rights defenders in Guatemala and highlighting the need to increase support for the work of the Commission Against Impunity and other measures to support the meaningful implementation of the rule of law in Guatemala.
Issued: 14 February, 2012