Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala

By Henry J. Frundt | Go to book overview

7

An International Front

On the very day that Israel Márquez delivered his oration before Coca-Cola's annual meeting, the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) in Geneva requested all its affiliates to send a telegram to the Guatemalan Embassy protesting the violence and suppression of workers' rights. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in Belgium commenced an investigation of Guatemala's unions ( IUF 5-7- 79)).

For the next several days Márquez talked with local unions and human rights groups in the United States He told the International Longshoremen Workers Union about the threats to other unions as well as the attempts to bribe and kill him. He said the Coca-Cola executives "fear that if they were to take action on this particular situation, it would expose similar situations in plants all over the world--whether they are directly controlled from Atlanta or are independent franchise operations. They've had the same problems in the two other plants in Guatemala (one owned directly by Coca-Cola)-- except nobody's been killed yet." Israel also explained the CNT and FDCR's strategic response:

Many of our members have had to go underground. Our local is now led by the entire executive committee. We are not going to put people up just to have them assassinated. To survive under these conditions, there has to be a great deal of maturity and experience. . . . We have found ways of holding meetings, demonstrations and strikes where such things are illegal. . . . Every day, people are learning more, becoming more conscious of what is going on--there

-91-

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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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