Panama: two unionists murdered

Two members of Panama’s militant Only Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS) were murdered on Aug. 14 and 15. Osvaldo Lorenzo was killed by a member of a company union when Lorenzo was protesting working conditions in the construction of a highway between Panama City and Colon. The Odebrecht company, Brazilian in origin, is running the project. Luigi Arguelles was shot at close range by a sergeant in the National Police in a tourist center in the Las Perlas Archipelago. The center’s owner, a Colombian investor, had previously threatened the workers. According to Panamanian sociologist Marco A. Gandasegui, elements in the government of President Martin Torrijos are creating “ghost unions” and using them to destroy SUNTRACS. (Servicio Informativo “Alai-amlatina,” Aug. 28). The union has had a leading role in protests against neoliberal economic policies. (See WNU, May 8, 2005)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 2

See our last post on Panama.