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human & civil rights | police / legal

Paramilitaries Attack Union Leader's Home in El Salvador

demand urgent action to uphold human rights and the will of the people of el salvador! Death squads may be testing the waters.
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 17:54:20 -0500
>To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
>From: "CISPES Nat'l Office" < cispes@cispes.org>
>Subject: URGENT ACTION: PARAMILITARIES RAID HOUSE OF SALVADORAN UNION
> LEADER
>
>
>CISPES EMERGENCY
>ACTION ALERT!
>
>November 19, 2002
>
>PARAMILITARIES RAID HOUSE OF SALVADORAN UNION LEADER
>Latest Incident in Escalating Series of Paramilitary Violence and Threats
>Salvadoran government refuses to investigate case, guarantee safety of
>Ricardo Monge and his family
>
>
>At 1:00am on Friday morning, armed subjects raided the house of Ricardo
>Monge, Secretary-General of the STISSS healthcare workers' union and
>prominent leader of the two-month healthcare strike that has won the
>passage of a legislative decree outlawing the privatization of
>healthcare. Monge himself was not at home when five men wearing ski
>masks, armed with rifles and handguns, burst into the residence, but his
>wife and two young children were terrorized by the men who proceeded to
>turn over the house; they took with them a number of internal union
>documents and left, but not before threatening the life of Monge and his
>family. Monge filed a police report the next morning with the District
>Attorney's office in Cojutepeque, but so far, police have not begun to
>investigate the case, nor has the government taken any steps to guarantee
>the safety of Monge and his family.
>
>This incident is just the latest in an escalating series of paramilitary
>violence and threats against prominent members of the Salvadoran Social
>Movement. Monge has received anonymous death threats at his home and
>office, and even on his cellular phone. On October 3, the Medical College
>doctors' association received threats against 35 striking doctors and
>their families from a death squad organization calling itself the
>"Extermination Commandos." On November 14, the house of FMLN youth leader
>Gisela Cáceres was attacked in a drive-by shooting and left riddled with
>M-16 bullet holes. Police have not investigated any of these incidents,
>and US State Department officials derided doctors' denouncements as
>"unconfirmed rumors."
>
>At the same time, police violence and repression is also on the rise in El
>Salvador since the passage of a new "National Defense Law" in August
>granted police and military broad repressive and surveillance powers, in
>violation of the 1992 Peace Accords. Protest actions have been met with
>heavy police response: all three "White Marches" were met by police armed
>with automatic weapons as well as teargas and rubber bullets. On
>September 19, some 50 riot police invaded the striking Oncology hospital
>and violently dragged workers out onto the street; Monge and other union
>leaders were held at gunpoint by masked agents who photographed and
>videotaped them, and kicked and punched them when they tried to stand. On
>October 30, national police chief Mauricio Sandoval placed a full-page ad
>in national newspapers warning that protesters could be arrested and
>charged with "high terrorism" for "obstructing the public right of
>way." On Friday, November 8, police took part in a simulated response to
>what officials described as "Demonstration, Peaceful or Violent": police
>academy students holding blank picket signs, playing the part of
>protesters, were wrestled to the ground and carted off by police in full
>body armor brandishing assault rifles.
>
>Meanwhile, the Salvadoran Social Movement continues to mobilize in support
>of striking doctors, healthcare workers and electricity workers defending
>the healthcare and electrical sectors from privatization. The STISSS and
>STSEL (the electricity workers union) have called on us for international
>solidarity against privatization and repression. We are asking everyone to
>pressure President Flores and Andrea Rodriguez, the Central American
>officer at the US State Department. You can also directly support the
>mobilizing in El Salvador by contributing to the CISPES Emergency Strike
>Fund; 100% of all contributions will go directly to supporting striking
>workers in El Salvador. Please read below on how you can best support the
>striking workers of El Salvador.
>
>
>
>
>
>TAKE ACTION NOW TO SUPPORT STRIKING WORKERS!
>
>1. Send faxes (011.503.243.9947) or emails ( fmelgar@presidencia.gob.sv) to
>Salvadoran President Francisco Flores (sample letter in Spanish below) to
>demand that he:
>ß Investigate the threats and incidents of violence against members of the
>Labor and Social Movements and guarantee the safety of Ricardo Monge, Ms.
>Cáceres and all striking doctors and workers.
>ß End the repression and the illegal firings of unionized workers (STSEL,
>STISSS and SIMETRISSS). Rehire all fired workers.
>ß Immediately open negotiations with the STSEL union.
>ß Stop the police repression against organized workers.
>ß Stop the process of privatization of electricity.
>ß Not open official CAFTA negotiations.
>2. Call Andrea Rodriguez, the El Salvador Desk Officer at the US State
>Department, at (202) 647-3505 or send faxes to (202) 647-2597 (sample
>letter below), and ask her to convey the above demands to President Flores!
>
>3. Donate to the Emergency Fund! Union workers need money to continue
>their fight! Make tax-deductible checks out to "CISPES Education Fund,"
>with "Emergency Fund" marked in the memo line, and send to: 130 W. 29th
>St, 9th Fl, NYC, NY 10001. Or call in a credit card donation at (212)
>465-8115, press '0'. 100% of all funds go directly to support union workers.
>
> ---Sample letter to Francisco Flores, President of El Salvador---
>Lic. Francisco Flores
>Casa Presidencial
>San Salvador
>Estimado Presidente Flores:
>Me dirijo a usted con suma preocupación debido a la grave situación que
>vive El Salvador en estos momentos. He sido informado del reciente ataque
>sufrido por Ricardo Monge, Secretario General del Sindicato de
>Trabajadores del Seguro Social (STISSS) y su familia. El viernes 15 de
>noviembre a la 1 AM, varios sujetos armados y enmascarados atacaron el
>hogar del Sr. Monge, destruyendo lo que encontraban a su paso y robando
>documentos internos del STISSS. El Sr. Monge no se encontraba en su casa
>en ese momento pero si su esposa e hijos. Los agresores profirieron
>amenazas de muerte en contra del Sr. Monge y su familia. Este ataque es
>sin duda parte de una ola represiva en contra de miembros del movimiento
>social salvadoreño. El Sr. Monge ha recibido constantes amenazas a muerte
>en los últimos meses. Durante el mes de octubre pasado, treinta y cinco
>médicos fueron amenazados por un escuadrón de la muerte autodenominado
>"Comando de Exterminio" y hace unos cuantos días, la casa de una líder
>juvenil, Gisela Cáceres, fue ametrallada por individuos que se conducían
>en un Jeep Cherokee con vidrios polarizados.
>Todo lo anterior ocurre al mismo tiempo que el director de la Policía
>Nacional Civil, Mauricio Sandoval, anuncio públicamente que todo aquel que
>proteste en las calles del país será arrestando y acusado de "alto terrorismo."
>
>Las leyes internacionales y salvadoreñas garantizan el derecho a la libre
>asociación de los trabajadores. Es por ello que le demando que haga todo
>lo que este en su poder para que la Policía Nacional Civil y los
>organismos encargados de su gobierno investiguen los hechos antes
>expuestos y garanticen la seguridad del Sr. Monge, la Srita. Cáceres y
>todos lo trabajadores y médicos en huelga.
>
>Le informare a mi representante en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos sobre
>las constantes violaciones a los derechos humanos y laborales que se
>suscitan en El Salvador y que no apoye la negociación de un tratado de
>libre comercio ya que no existen condiciones para ello.
>
>Por todo lo antes expuesto le demando:
>
>1.- investigue las amenazas y los incidentes violentos llevados a cabo en
>contra de miembros del movimiento social salvadoreño y garantice la
>seguridad del Sr. Ricardo Monge, la Srita. Cáceres y de todos los
>trabajadores en huelga.
>
>2.- Cese la represión y los despidos ilegales de trabajadores, en especial
>de los miembros de los sindicatos STSEL, STISSS y SIMETRISSS. Reinstale
>todos los trabajadores despedidos.
>
>3.- Inicie inmediatamente negociaciones con el Sindicato de Trabajadores
>de Electricidad, STSEL.
>
>4.- Cese la represión policial en contra de los trabajadores organizados.
>
>5.- Cese el proceso de privatización de la electricidad.
>6.- No inicie negociaciones oficiales en torno al CAFTA.
>
>Continuare dando seguimiento a la turbulenta situación social que vive El
>Salvador en estos momentos y no dude que mi congresista será informado de
>lo que allí ocurra, en especial en estos momentos que el gobierno de los
>Estados Unidos se apresta a negociar un tratado de libre comercio con su
>gobierno.
>
>Atentamente,
> (English translation of Flores letter; please do not send out the
> English version)
>Lic. Francisco Flores
>Casa Presidencial
>San Salvador
>Dear President Flores:
>I'm writing to express my concern about the grave situation in El
>Salvador. I have been informed of the recent attack on the home and
>family of Ricardo Monge, Secretary General of the STISSS Social Security
>Healthcare Workers' Union. At 1am, Friday, November 15, several
>unidentified subjects, masked and armed, raided Mr. Monge's home, turning
>over furniture and stealing internal STISSS documents. Mr. Monge was not
>home at the time but his wife and children were. The intruders terrified
>the family with death threats against Mr. Monge and his family. This
>raid is a part of repression against people involved in the Labor and
>Social Movements. For months, Mr. Monge has received death threats at his
>home phone number and on his cell phone. In October, thirty five doctors
>were also threatened by a group calling itself the "Extermination
>Commandos" and just recently, the home of youth leader, Gisela Cáceres,
>was riddled with bullets fired from an unidentified Jeep Cherokee with
>tinted windows. I have also been made aware that the head of the National
>Civilian Police force, Mauricio Sandoval, recently announced in the
>national press that anyone protesting in the streets will be arrested and
>charged with acts of "high terrorism."
> International law and the Salvadoran Constitution guarantee the
> right of every worker to free association. I demand that you do
> everything in your power to ensure that the Salvadoran Government and
> National Police investigate each of these incidents and take steps to
> ensure the safety and wellbeing of Mr. Monge, Ms. Cáceres and all
> striking doctors and workers.
> I intend to inform my congressional representatives of these
> labor violations and activities, as they are a strong indication that the
> current situation in El Salvador is in no way amenable to the signing of
> a free trade agreement with the United States.
> I demand that you:
>1. Investigate the threats and incidents of violence against members of
>the Labor and Social Movements and guarantee the safety of Ricardo Monge,
>Ms. Céceres and all striking doctors and workers.
>2. End the repression and the illegal firings of unionized workers (STSEL,
>STISSS and SIMETRISSS). Rehire all fired workers.
>3. Immediately open negotiations with the STSEL union.
>4. Stop the police repression against organized workers.
>5. Stop the process of privatization of electricity.
>6. Not open official CAFTA negotiations.
>I will continue to closely monitor the social crisis in El Salvador, and
>will continue to report my findings to my Congressional representatives,
>particularly as the US considers entering into a free trade agreement with
>your government.
>Sincerely,
> ---Sample letter to Andrea Rodriguez, El Salvador Desk Officer at the US
> State Department--
>Andrea Rodriguez
>US State Department
>October 2002
>I'm writing to express my concern about the grave situation in El
>Salvador. I have been informed of the recent attack on the home and
>family of Ricardo Monge, Secretary General of the STISSS Social Security
>Healthcare Workers' Union. At 1am, Friday, November 15, several
>unidentified subjects, masked and armed, raided Mr. Monge's home, turning
>over furniture and stealing internal STISSS documents. Mr. Monge was not
>home at the time but his wife and children were. The intruders terrified
>the family with death threats against Mr. Monge and his family. This
>raid is a part of repression against people involved in the Labor and
>Social Movements. For months, Mr. Monge has received death threats at his
>home phone number and on his cell phone. In October, thirty five doctors
>were also threatened by a group calling itself the "Extermination
>Commandos" and just recently, the home of youth leader, Gisela Cáceres,
>was riddled with bullets fired from an unidentified Jeep Cherokee with
>tinted windows. I have also been made aware that the head of the National
>Civilian Police force, Mauricio Sandoval, recently announced in the
>national press that anyone protesting in the streets will be arrested and
>charged with acts of "high terrorism."
> International law and the Salvadoran Constitution guarantee the
> right of every worker to free association. I demand that you do
> everything in your power to ensure that the Salvadoran Government and
> National Police investigate each of these incidents and take steps to
> ensure the safety and wellbeing of Mr. Monge, Ms. Cáceres and all
> striking doctors and workers.
> I intend to inform my congressional representatives of these
> labor violations and activities, as they are a strong indication that the
> current situation in El Salvador is in no way amenable to the signing of
> a free trade agreement with the United States.
> I demand that you urge the Salvadoran Government to:
>ß Investigate the threats and incidents of violence against members of the
>Labor and Social Movements and guarantee the safety of Ricardo Monge, Ms.
>Cáceres and all striking doctors and workers.
>ß End the repression and the illegal firings of unionized workers (STSEL,
>STISSS and SIMETRISSS). Rehire all fired workers.
>ß Immediately open negotiations with the STSEL union.
>ß Stop the police repression against organized workers.
>ß Stop the process of privatization of electricity.
>ß Not open official CAFTA negotiations.
>I will continue to closely monitor the social crisis in El Salvador, and
>will continue to report my findings to my Congressional representatives,
>particularly as the US considers entering into a free trade agreement with
>your government.
>In addition, please demand that the US government abstain from opening
>formal negotiations for a free trade agreement with Central America,
>because of their repeated violations of labor and human rights. I expect
>that you will take personal responsibility for conveying these demands and
>ensuring that the US government do everything within its power to ensure
>that they are met. I will continue to closely monitor the situation of
>labor violations in El Salvador, and will continue to report my findings
>to my Congressional representatives.
>Sincerely,
>
>
>--
>CISPES - Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
>130 W. 29th Street, 9th floor
>New York, NY 10001
>212-465-8115 phone
>212-465-8998 fax
> cispes@cispes.org
>www.cispes.org