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Congressional Letter Addressing Worker Rights Violations and Violence in Guatemala
The Bush administration issued a review of the CAFTA labor complaint in January 2009. The review essentially backed the substance of the complaint but gave the Guatemalan government another six months, until July 16, to address issues raised in the complaint. The complaint uses several case studies to document illegal firings, failure to bargain in good faith, health and safety violations, and violence against trade unionists. As predicted, CAFTA's labor provisions have proven ineffective in protecting worker rights.
Since CAFTA came into effect, violence against trade unionists in Guatemala has surged. Last month, the International Trade Union Confederation declared Guatemala the second most dangerous country for trade unionists in Latin America, trailing only world-leader Colombia. The ITUC reported nine trade unionists were murdered in 2008, on top of two trade unionists murdered in 2007. In the two years leading up to CAFTA's approval, no trade unionists were murdered in Guatemala.
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