A father of three from Guatemala who fought for fair wages for B.C.’s migrant workers has been identified as the victim of a homicide on a farm in St. Agatha.
Thirty-five-year-old Luis Gabriel Cahuec was killed on Wednesday, and another worker was charged with first-degree murder.
According to Vancouver activist Byron Cruz, Cahuec first came to Canada in 2015.
“Luis first came to British Columbia in 2015 through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. He came to earn money for the medical expenses of one of his daughters in Guatemala who has kidney failure,” he says.
“He was working here for a few years, in one of the greenhouses in Delta. That’s when I met him because he decided to take part and give his testimony to the commission that was exploring the possibility of increasing the minimum wage and migrant workers were going to be left out of that.”
Cahuec’s testimony to B.C.’s Fair Wages Commission about the long hours, poor working conditions, and lack of compensation for overtime was part of why the government did ultimately extend minimum wage increases to migrant workers.
After working in B.C., Cruz says Cahuec returned to his home town in Guatemala where he was a volunteer firefighter.
“He came back to Canada because he needed to pay for the expenses of medical treatment for one of his kids, he was the main support for his family, also for his mom,” Cruz says.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support the family.
“A hero to his three children aged six, 10 and 12, Luis will be remembered as a loving and exemplary father and husband, always thinking about others before himself. He supported his mother, wife and children financially, who have been left helpless by his sudden passing,” the page reads.
Cahuec’s family is devastated and his wife doesn’t know when she will be able to bring his body back home.
“His wife’s first reaction was that she wanted the body of Luis to be repatriated to Guatemala right away. We don’t know if this is going to happen soon or not, especially if there’s going to be an investigation,” Cruz says.
Story by Renee Bernard, News 1130