Thursday, October 04, 2007

How many deaths will it take?

In this week's TUC mailing there was an article requesting help and again this morning I received a plea from Eric Lee.

I am still not sure why it is so hard to get individuals to become motivated about stopping deaths especially when it is a Man or Women just doing their best to be a good citizen, parent and spouse. All it takes is a letter, not even one that requires a stamp. paper, or envelope, a virtual letter that will virtually do wonders!

Please take a few moments and Read the Plea below and follow the link to write a heartfelt letter.

How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?

That's the question Bob Dylan asked in his 1962 song, "Blowin' in the Wind".

And it's the question I'm asking you now -- to each and every person on this mailing list.

Less than two weeks ago, a man you've never met or even heard of, who lived in a country you may know very little about, was gunned down by masked criminals while leaving his house to go to work.

Murders happen every day. Why single this one out?

The man killed was Marco Tulio Ramírez Portela. He was in charge of sports and culture for the banana workers union in Guatemala. This is the union that organizes Del Monte workers. The bananas you eat may have been picked by members of his union.

Marco Tulio's murder on 23 September was part of a pattern of rising anti-union violence in Guatemala.

I mentioned this in passing in last week's message. Maybe you noticed, or maybe you didn't. Very few of you responded.

I can understand why -- sometimes these mailings have a lot of information and we all have very little time.

And as we've pointed out before, 144 trade union activists were killed in 2006. That's a big increase over the previous year.
If we don't make a special effort, we may become apathetic. And we may begin to accept -- by our silence -- what we know we cannot accept.

Dylan rhetorically asked how many deaths will it take?

The answer for all us should be this: Just one.

Marco Tulio's murderers are benefiting from a culture of impunity in Guatemala. Those behind the murder are convinced that few will have heard his name and fewer still will have raised their voices in protest.
Unions across Latin America have raised the cry -- "¡Basta de impunidad en Guatemala!" Unions around the world -- your union -- must take up this slogan as well.

Please, take a few seconds and go to this link -- send the strongest possible message to the authorities in Guatemala that trade union activists are not legitimate targets for assassins and death squads.

Thank you.

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