Solidaridad con las Costureras de Guatemala
by Marilyn Anderson
”Free Trade” practices of transferring U.S. clothing production to countries such as Guatemala were already beginning in the 1980s. Women earning low wages were the primary workers in these maquiladoras, but unions in Guatemala had to fight for their right to exist and suffered the murder of many labor leaders.
My years of living in Guatemala and knowledge about the traditional arts there made me understand that the women who worked in the maquiladoras were being deskilled. They had become part of the world-wide drive toward globalization – one result of which meant the destruction of traditional cultures.
Struggles continue today to give workers of all kinds in Guatemala the right to join unions. But the image in my poster has a hopeful message in the quetzal bird hovering over the needle worker and her sewing machine. The national bird of Guatemala signifies freedom – in this instance freedom from oppression and lack of labor rights.
Artwork © 2010 Marilyn Anderson.