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USW protest

Members of the USW and supporters protested the Mexican government’s repression of workers’ rights during a May 2010 visit to the nation’s capitol by Mexico’s president.

A legacy of political instability, armed conflicts and flagrant human rights violations has impoverished workers in many Latin American and Caribbean countries. In Colombia, where year after year, the murder rate of trade unionists is the worst in the world, workers literally risk their lives to seek workplace fairness through trade unions. Trade unionists also are under attack in Central America and Mexico.

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At the deportation center in San Pedro Sula, planes land with more than 100 Hondurans a day, returned from our border prisons to their native land. They are mostly young men, with shackled hands and legs, who have harrowing tales of days in what they call the “ice box,” the U.S. detention centers on our borders that are so crowded they must stand up for hours, taking turns lying down to sleep. These were heartbreaking conversations, nearly hopeless tales through tears, of failed attempts to unify with families or find work.

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