The Obama administration's case against Guatemala, over its failure to protect unions within its borders, is seen as an attempt to garner US union support for stalled trade agreements.
Seven years after Guatemala signed a free-trade pact with the US that included an agreement to enforce its labor laws, Guatemalan union leaders complain that they are still assassination targets, and that businessmen still illegally fire workers.
The apparent failure to protect union workers has prompted the US to take unprecedented steps to force Guatemala to respond, in what may be part of President Obama's broader strategy to win support from US unions and Democrats in Congress for stalled trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Those deals are key to his bid to boost job creation via trade.
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