Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala

By Henry J. Frundt | Go to book overview

13
An Oasis Runs Dry

The victory at Coca-Cola had both national and global implications. The international business community was alarmed at this new trade-union potential to counter the growing power of transnational corporations and made suggestions to Coca-Cola on how it could be isolated and neutralized (see Northrup and Rowan 1981). The profoundly anti-labor government of Guatemala refocused public attention away from EGSA, letting the workers busy themselves with internal business. To many within the country, STEGAC's achievement became a small oasis of hope in the midst of a desert of pain.

The desert expanded with the government's decimation of the national labor movement. The attack on CNT headquarters on June 21 convinced the remaining leadership of CNUS and FDCR that democratic forms of struggle had failed, and that anyone with a reputation for trade-union activism carried a death label on his or her shoulders. Several CNT members even believed the "opening between 1976-80 was a strategic move on the part of the wealthy and their instrument, the army, to allow the union movement an opportunity to show itself, so leaders could be documented and photographed. This placed them in a much better position to eliminate the whole movement" ( SIMCOS int. 1983).

In reconsidering their modes of operation, some CNT leaders favored clandestyne guerrilla action; others preferred indirect types of pressure and units of self-defense. Union actyvists in touch with the FAR urged the importance of armed struggle. Because of their hope for the new labor contract, the Coca-Cola workers favored the indirect course. In the fall of 1980, the CNT polarized into two groups ( CNT, Cien

-173-

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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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