Direct from the PSI Mission in Guatemala: report from the EPSU President

(14 August 2013) A [PSI mission is in Guatemala->] to express solidarity with the workers and their unions. Recently several of the trade union leaders and activists have been killed. The delegation meets with the unions, authorities and embassies. It is making the point that the government should actively address the situation and that there can not be trade without respect for trade union rights. {{Anne-Marie Perret}}, EPSU President, sent us this report{ “How to share what our PSI mission to Guatemala heard and faced during the meetings organized with our sisters and brothers of SNTSG (sindicato nacional de trabajadores de salud de Guatemala) this first day in Guatemala City. For years the union of healthcare workers has been the target of violence. Its members and leadership have undergone violations of labour right,s threats, harassment, kidnapping, or being jailed, and then killings as Carlos Hernandez and Santa Alvarado, members of SNTSG have been murdered in last March. Welcome to the country of "eterna primavera y eterna tiranía" ("eternal spring and eternal tyranny") as was said by one of the union leaders! Why a mission to Guatemala? To react to these violations, and more than that to impunity with which they take place. For us to express international solidarity and to put a worldwide focus on a country where fundamental rights are denied. According to Luis Lara, General Secretary of SNTSG, it is time to give access to Peace, Democracy and Development after years of civil war (up to 150.000 victims). The unions had lodged more then 200 complaints for murders of unionists without any result... As Brother Luis said : "A lot of our sisters and brothers are now in the cemetery, others in exile and others in hospital". } In her intervention, {{Rosa Pavanelli}}, PSI General Secretary, said that to put solidarity in action, we need to have a better knowledge of the realities in order to help, trying to put an end to these tragedies. Guatemala is on the top of the PSI agenda as it is of [ITUC->] and [ILO->]. [EPSU->] supports the work actively in contacts with the Parliament and European Commission. During its stay, the PSI mission will meet with national authorities (minister of labour, minister of interior, defensor of labour rights), will have an interview with the President, Otto Pérez Molina, and meetings with several embassies (USA, France, Sweden) and the EU representation here in Guatemala in order to recall our opposition to the EU Central America trade agreement as it represents a new threat for labour rights in the region. - [Pictures of the delegation are here->] - [Previous article->] - [The RadioLabour interview with Anne-Marie Perret while she was in Guatemala->]