Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala

By Henry J. Frundt | Go to book overview

4
First Settlement

Arriving home one Sunday from an outing in the countryside to exercise their newly healed bones, Marta and Enrique Torres found a strange figure standing by their door. 1 It was a priest invited from Costa Rica. He said they did not have labor problems there and the company wanted his help in avoiding them here. "I would like to join the discussions you are having with the workers."

"Because Trotter knew we were Catholic he thought we were the ones telling the workers what to do," speculated Marta. She opposed the priest's participation, but would do as the workers wished. "They said it did not matter--they had nothing to hide" ( M. Torres int. 1983).

Thus arrived the Rev. Claudio Solano, head of the John XXIII Center in San Jose. His real purpose was to help Trotter form an alternative employee organization of his own. Bledel had seen this work effectively in Costa Rica, where CLAT and several Coca-Cola bottlers sponsored joint seminars on labor education at Solano's John XXIII Center.

The CNT leadership became wary when they learned of Solano's tie to CLAT. In some countries CLAT opposed the U.S.-dominated Regional Organization of Latin American Workers (ORIT) which often advocated company unions, but in Guatemala CLAT was in controlled by relatively conservative members of the Christian Democratic Party who worked with ORIT in spite of its ties with the government. This disturbed the CNT. Although it maintained financial and structural links with CLAT and participated in the major CLAT conferences, the CNT remained officially independent ( Albîzúrez 1980). When Israel Marquez was elected assistant general secretary of the CNT in

-42-

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Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - The Lockout/Strike 1
  • 2 - Subdivision 17
  • 3 - The Church Takes Stock 28
  • 4 - First Settlement 42
  • 5 - Repression 56
  • 6 - The Corporate Forum 72
  • 7 91
  • 8 - Boycott! 105
  • 9 - The Spring Offensive 123
  • 10 - Negotiations Begin 135
  • 11 - Abduction 153
  • 12 - A Contract! 163
  • 13 - An Oasis Runs Dry 173
  • 14 - Occupation 187
  • 15 - The Third Campaign 200
  • 16 - Echoes of Victory 213
  • Concluding Reflections 222
  • Notes 233
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 262
  • About the Author 269
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