Friday, July 07, 2006

Anti-Union Raids in El Salvador

forwarded from friends in the Salvadoran labor movement:


After yesterday’s violent acts outside the National University that took the lives of two anti-riot police and at least one student during a protest of increased bus fares, the Salvadoran government is utilizing this situation to once again express its anti-union position. The offices of the Union Confederation of Salvadoran Workers, CSTS, were assaulted by the police who entered the offices without a court order early Thursday morning and tortured CSTS Press Secretary a Daniel Ernesto Morales for three hours. They continually asked him, “Where are the weapons?” Daniel was kept for three hours kneeled against the wall while the agents ransacked the office and stole equipment, cameras and $2000 in cash, while hitting Daniel on the head and in the face. Afterwards, they arrested Daniel Ernesto based on the fact that there was a weapon in the office. The legally-registered gun was the property of a member of the private security guards’ union who had left it in the office for safe keeping. Union members visited the leader at noon on Thursday and said that he had suffered blows to his face. Daniel Ernesto Morales, CSTS union leader, arrested during the early morning hours of Thursday, July 6.

Daniel is a young union leader who was fired last year from Diana Enterprises, a business owned by the Salvadoran Minister of Environment, Hugo Barrera. Daniel and his union organization have a legal case pending against this business. Coinciding with the break in, yesterday (July 5) at 4 p.m. and in light of the violent acts that happened during the student march, members of different social and popular organizations held a press conference at the CSTS offices to denounce the level of repression against the union and popular movement. The CSTS and the Center for Labor Studies and Support (CEAL) have requested a hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Guatemala City on July 19 to report to the Commission about the Salvadoran government’s systematic anti-union behavior. This request was prepared from the offices that were broken into today and this office was listed as a point of contact for any correspondence related to the process. Yesterday, in a special session of the Legislative Assembly’s Labor Commission, Salvadoran authorities were informed of the hearing. It seems very suspicious that of all of the social and union organizations that are within proximity of the National University, it was the CSTS that was broken into by the police. The police have argued that they broke into the offices to look for weapons near the National University. However, the CSTS offices are more than a kilometer from the university. CSTS leaders said that they filed a complaint with the Salvadoran Attorney General’s office for this break-in in which the police robbed and ransacked the offices and arrested a union member. They are proceeding to notify the Inter-American Human Rights Commission about this as a precautionary measure for members of the CSTS.

Suggested Action! Write to President Elias Antonio Saca to put an end to the persecution of the union movement and to demand the immediate release of Daniel Ernesto Morales, CSTS Press Secretary. Model Letter: ELIAS ANTONIO SACAPresident of El Fax: +503 2243 7857/ 9930 With copy to:Beatrice Alamani de CarrilloFax: + 503 2222 0655

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