Central America Theater

CENTRAL AMERICA: TERROR TARGETS ANTI-CAFTA RESISTANCE

from Weekly News Update on the Americas

GUATEMALA: CAMPESINO LEADER KIDNAPPED

An unidentified group of armed men intercepted and abducted Maria Antonieta Carrillo, a local leader of Guatemala's Campesino Unity Committee (CUC), on May 28 in the village of La Arenera, Puerto de San Jose municipality, in the southern department of Escuintla, according to a communique the CUC released on May 29. "We hold the government and the business sector responsible," the CUC said. "This act is part of the repressive policy [Guatemalan president Oscar] Berger has mounted against the indigenous and campesino movement." According to the CUC, La Arenera is a leading community in the "struggle for land and for campesinos' labor rights" in an area which has the highest concentration of large sugar plantations in the country.

CENTRAL AMERICA: ANTI-CAFTA RESISTANCE AND REPRESSION

from Weekly News Update on the Americas

NOTE: Nearly a year has passed since the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica met in Washington DC May 28, 2004 to sign the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Since then, the national legislatures of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have approved the treaty, and the Dominican Republic is now also slated to join. But the treaty has been met with militant protest--often put down with bloody repression--throughout the region. As the treaty goes before Nicaragua's National Assembly, that country is the latest to see the streets of its capital filled with angry farmers, workers and students. Meanwhile, protests continue even in those countries which have already approved the treaty--over its terms, as well as related economic issues, with fresh violence reported in April from El Salvador and Honduras. The treaty is returning instability to the isthmus before it has even taken effect--and the U.S. media are paying little note. Our colleagues at Weekly News Update on the Americas provide details.--WW4 REPORT

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