ITF To Meet Guatemalan Pres. On Zamora Murder
ITF to meet with Guatemalan President on Zamora murder
Officials from global union federation the ITF will meet with the newly elected President of Guatemala tomorrow (Tuesday) in the country's capital to enlist his help in prosecuting the killers of trade union leader Pedro Zamora and protecting Zamora's threatened colleagues.
The ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) mission includes the organisation's Assistant General Secretary, Stuart Howard; Latin America Secretary Antonio Fritz; Venezuelan Member of Parliament, Francisco Torrealba; and representatives of Pedro Zamora's STEPQ union. They will take the opportunity to offer to work with the newly elected President Alvaro Colom and collaborate with his government, which has been widely seen as offering the best hope of ending Guatemala's culture of extra-judicial killings.
The ITF mission will particularly call for:
* Progress in the investigation into the death of Pedro Zamora, an end to the climate of impunity, and assurances of safety for the STEPQ union leaders who received death threats immediately after Zamora's murder.
* A complete review of the modernisation proposals for Puerto Quetzal which is fully transparent and which would include the participation of the STEPQ dockworkers' union
* Support for strengthened trade unions in Guatemala as part of a push to build stronger democratic and representative organisations which contribute to a healthy civil society
Speaking from Guatemala City Stuart Howard, ITF Assistant General Secretary, commented: "Guatemala is one of the most dangerous places on earth to fight for human and labour rights, as the callous assassination of Pedro Zamora proved. Yet there is a feeling both here and internationally that the change of government may provide a glimmer of hope that this can be changed. We are here to offer any help we and the international trade union movement can in making it so."
This is the third delegation the ITF has dispatched to Guatemala in the year since its member, Pedro Zamora was gunned down in a pre-planned ambush. The previous two missions were instrumental in shielding the threatened trade unionists, exposing the political nature of the killing, and protecting the labour rights of workers at Puerto Quetzal.
For full details of the murder of Pedro Zamora, almost exactly one year ago, and of the ITF's campaign for justice, please see http://www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/zamora.cfm