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SALVADORAN GOVERNMENT TAKES ADVANTAGE OF VIOLENCE TO REPRESS THE UNION MOVEMENT.

by Gilberto García Monday, Jul. 10, 2006 at 1:35 PM
ceal.dlca@gmail.com 503+22605306 1a Calle Poniente No 2904, San Salvador El Salvador, C.A.

After yesterdays violent acts outside the National University that took the lives of two anti-riot police during a protest of increased bus fares, the Salvadoran government is utilizing this situation to once again express its anti-union position

POLICE RAID CSTS OFFICES AND PRESS SECRETARY IS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.

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 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 governments 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 Assemblys 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 Generals 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 SACA
President of El Salvador
casapres@casapres.gob.sv
Fax: +503 2243 7857/ 9930

With copy to:
Beatrice Alamani de Carrillo
Fax: + 503 2222 0655

Dear President Saca:

We write to you today to express indignation with regards to the arrest of Daniel Ernesto Morales and the illegal entry, robbery, and ransacking of the Union Confederation of Salvadoran Workers, CSTS, during the early morning hours of July 6, 2006.

This illegal action took place at approximately 3 a.m. on July 6 and we understand that the police are explaining their actions as part of an operation to search for weapons following the unfortunate acts of violence one day before in which two police officers were killed during a protest against increased base fares. The protest was in response to an end to public transportation subsidies and an increase in electricity costs. Daniel Ernesto Morales arrest has been justified by the police because a weapon was found in the CSTS office. This weapon belongs to a member of a private security guards union and it is legally registered and has not been used by nor does it belong to Morales. The police information does not report that Morales was held in a kneeling position with his arms against the wall for three hours while he was hit on the head and in the face during which time the police took equipment and cash that belonged to the CSTS.

We want to point out that the CSTS will participate in a hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission on July 19 for the systematic violation of union rights by the Salvadoran government. A high level commission from your government was informed yesterday of this hearing in a session of the Legislative Assemblys Labor Commission in the framework of discussions around ILO conventions. On July 5 in the afternoon, several union and social organizations held a press conference at the CSTS offices.

All of this can only be interpreted as retaliation to the actions taken by the CSTS to defend freedom for unions in El Salvador. We strongly request the immediate release of Daniel Ernesto Morales.

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