Another Guatemalan Union Leader is Dead—Will Two Campesino Activists Be Next?

March 13, 2013

Workers Rights = Human Rights

On March 8, two men on motorcycles cut off Carlos Hernández’s pickup truck fired eight 9mm bullets at him, killing him. Hernández was a member of several community organizations and labor groups, including:

  • The Camotán Peasant Farmers Association
  • The New Day Peasant Farmer Coordination
  • The Coordination of Popular, Indigenous, Church, Trade Union and Peasant Organizations of the East (COPISCO)
  • The National Front for the Struggle (FNL)
  • The Executive Committee of the Guatemalan National Trade Union of Health Workers (SNTSG)

You may recall the SNTSG from a blog I wrote in December, about four Central American cases in Amnesty’s Transforming Pain into Hope report about Human Rights Defenders in the Americas. One of the cases featured in that report was that of Luis Ovidio Ortíz Cajas, the Public Relations Secretary of the Executive Committee of the SNTSG. An unknown assailant killed Ortíz Cajas and three other men on March 24, 2012—a little less than one year before this latest killing.

Carlos Hernández had received a death threat by phone on February 21. Two members of the New Day Peasant Farmer Coordination, Omar Jerónimo and Damaso Aldana, also received threats and now fear that they will suffer the same fate as Hernández.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action on this case calling on the Guatemalan government to:

  • Thoroughly investigate the murder of .Carlos Hernández and punish those responsible.
  • Protect all members of the New Day Peasant Farmer Coordination.
  • Remember and recognize the right of union activists and other Human Rights Defenders to operate without fear of reprisals.

Please write to the Guatemalan authorities before Omar Jerónimo and Damaso Aldana become the next victims.