From Mike Hitchen Online Let's Hear You! presents selected news and information from non profit organizations and individuals promoting community or rights oriented issues.
Items are selected from a wide range of sources and are not confined to major or international issues. Submissions from individuals or organizations (large or small) are welcome.
Teamsters, Human Rights Groups Decry Inaction By Salvadoran Government On Gilberto Soto Murder
A full-page ad scheduled for publication in tomorrow's edition of El Salvador's largest daily newspaper denounces the government for its continued inaction on the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Gilberto Soto, a representative of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Soto was killed while visiting El Salvador to establish fraternal relations with transport workers there and throughout Central America.
ad, published in La Prensa Grafica, poses the question "Justice or
Impunity?" The ad is written as an open letter and decries the
high-level cover-up of Soto's assassination. It calls upon El Salvador's current attorney general, Luis Martinez, to reopen investigations into this and other emblematic human rights cases.
"It's time for justice for Gilberto Soto's family and all who cherish human rights," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, who joined 14 other human rights advocates in placing the ad.
"Under human rights law there is no statute of limitations on justice for victims such as Gilberto Soto," said Lance Compa, a professor of international labor and human rights law at Cornell University.
Compa has conducted studies for Human Rights Watch, the International
Labor Rights Forum and other human rights groups, as well as for the
United Nations' International Labour Organization.
yesterday's injustice is essential for confronting and solving today's
human rights challenges. This is why re-opening the Gilberto Soto case will be so important for the international human rights community and for the Salvadoran people," Compa said.
Noting that in the past, El Salvador's
office of the attorney general was itself involved in a cover-up of the
Soto case, the signers urge Attorney General Martinez to work with the
PDDH, the country's human rights office, and independent human rights
organizations to identify those who committed the emblematic crimes, and
those who covered them up.
Geoff Thale, program director of the Washington Office on Latin America,
said he signed the open letter because "The unresolved human rights
crimes of the past – the Jesuit case, massacres like El Mozote, like
that of Gilberto Soto—involve deep emotional wounds for the families and
relatives of those who died. These cases serve as a test for the
criminal justice system, especially for the Attorney General's office,
as to whether it can investigate effectively and without political
"We want to know—will El Salvador reject the cover-up of politically motivated crimes and end the culture of impunity?" said Ron Carver, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
For a video with more information on Gilberto Soto and the use of death squads as a tool of political oppression in El Salvador, go to: http://ibt.io/8331