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Guatemalan Pres. Promises Justice On Zamora Murder

Guatemalan President Promises ITF That Justice Will Be Done On Zamora Murder

Guatemala's new President, Alvaro Colom, yesterday gave ITF representatives his personal assurance that a proper investigation into the murder of dockworkers' leader Pedro Zamora will now be made. He made the promise yesterday in a face to face meeting in Guatemala City with members of the ITF's third mission to the country to investigate the murder, and also stated that the men who were managers at Puerto Quetzal at the time of the killing will also be replaced.

After the meeting President Colom then publicly opened a three day International Trade Union Confederation conference on ending impunity in Guatemala and how trade unions can help secure justice for its people.

The conference is being attended by 150 trade unionists from Central America, the US and Europe, and by ambassadors and diplomats from Spain, US, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and the EU. Speaking at its opening President Colom, who has been in office only 14 days, undertook to fight impunity and spoke of his determination to build a strong democratic state in Guatemala, with the support of trade unions. "The role of unions is essential, so let us increase membership in all sectors," he said.

ITF Assistant General Secretary Stuart Howard commented: "Almost exactly a year after Pedro's brutal killing we have received President Colom's personal assurance that something is going to be done, and we heartily welcome that pledge. In return we have promised to work with all those committed to justice in Guatemala."

The ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) mission includes Stuart Howard; Latin America Secretary Antonio Fritz; Venezuelan Member of Parliament, Francisco Torrealba; and representatives of Pedro Zamora's STEPQ union. In their meeting with President Colom they called 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

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 and of the ITF's campaign for justice, please see http://www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/zamora.cfm

ENDS

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