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Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS)

Edward T. Brett

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Americas » Central America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics labor, labor movements, revolution, rural, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00554.x


The National Trade Union Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS), El Salvador's largest industrial trade union confederation, was founded in 1974 to bring unity to the nation's trade union movement and thereby strengthen it. It consisted of 16 trade unions with a combined membership of 25,000. It was affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation and its main headquarters were located in San Salvador, just two blocks from the command center of the National Police. Accused by Salvadoran and US authorities of being a front organization for the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front) , several of its leaders as well as its headquarters were under constant surveillance. Its members were continually harassed and threatened by Salvadoran security forces. Minor acts of harassment, however, escalated into more serious violence in 1989. On February 22 and September 5, bombs were thrown at the union's headquarters, but they did not result in any loss of life. On October 31, however, FENASTRAS members were not so lucky. On that day a bomb, which had been placed by a door near the building's lunchroom, exploded at approximately 12:30, when the lunchroom was full of workers. Nine unionists were killed and about forty wounded. Febe Elizabeth Velásquez, the general secretary of FENASTRAS and El Salvador's most important labor figure, was among the dead. The day before, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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