Dear comrades of the International Workers Committee:
Leader of Movement 20/32 and lawyer of the National Independent Union of Industrial and Service Workers “Movement 20/32” (SNITIS), Susana Prieto Terrazas was arrested on the afternoon of 8 June. SNITIS is the independent trade union that was founded following the early 2019 strike movements in the border city of Matamoros, in the assembly plants called maquiladoras, demanding a wage increase.
The news of her arrest spread nationally “live”, as Susana Prieto Terrazas filmed it herself, posting it on social media, not yet even knowing what the accusations against her were, or the charges. Later she was told that the charges included promoting a riot, threatening and coercing individuals, and organizing aggressions against public servants. SNTIS workers and sympathisers took to the streets to demand her immediate release. To sever her contact with the movement in Matamoros and to make her defence effort more difficult, comrade Prieto Terrazas was taken to Ciudad Victoria, a city 200 miles from Matamoros, where she is currently held at the CERESO detention center.
It is worth mentioning that in 2017, comrade Prieto Terrazas began the legal defence of workers of the Lexmark Corp., who were dying of cancer due to the bad conditions of health and security in the plant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. For this work, she received threats, including death threats, from people no doubt linked to the factory management and to the leaders of the company unions, or charros. At public rallies in 2019 in Matamoros, she also received threats.
This is clearly a measure of repression, as Susana Prieto Terrazas is well known for her staunch defence of border workers, especially in the maquiladoras of Ciudad Juarez and Matamoros, starting from the 20/32 Movement and the movement for creating an independent trade union to genuinely defend workers’ interests. It is in clear of violation of the right to freedom of association and trade union freedom, established in ILO convention 87.
We denounce this arrest ordered by the Tamaulipas government, in collusion with the bosses and corporatist trade union leaders. It is a clear warning addressed to the sectors of workers who have been paralyzing the assembly plants in Matamoros since last year, in order to defend their labour rights, and who continue today to fight for the respect of their right to protect their health and their lives – a right that the bosses are violating in the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We call on you to follow this situation attentively and to make an appeal from the International Workers Committee for solidarity, with rallies in front of the embassies or letters addressed to the president of Mexico, to the government of the state of Tamaulipas and to the Attorney General of the state of Tamaulipas, because this is not only an attack against the person of Susana Prieto Terrazas, but also an attack against the entire Mexican working class, and particularly those at the border who are now confronted with the coming into effect of TMEC, intensifying the exploitation of United States – Mexico border workers.
Political organization of people and workers ( OPT ) Baja California Region