At around 03.00 pm on the afternoon of 09 November 2016, Eliseo Villatoro Cardona, a member of the executive committee of the Organised Municipal Workers Union of Tequisate (SEMOT), in Escuintla, was shot dead. He was heading home on his motorcycle when two pursuers, also on motorcycles, shot and wounded him. Seeing that he was still trying to get away, in spite of his wounds, they followed and killed him.
According to news agency Cerigua, SEMOT members and officials had received threats and had been pressured by officials from the municipal council of Tequisate to leave the union. This pressure violates the right to association, guaranteed under Guatemalan law and by the International Labour Organisation (Convention 87).
The municipality had reportedly stopped paying the salaries of the unionised workers some months earlier and had dismissed those workers who were members of the union, to intimidate the rest. Recently they had also dismissed some non unionised workers, saying it was because of the union’s activities. This was causing friction between the two groups of workers. Eliseo Villatoro Cardona is the third union member killed in Guatemala this year, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.