Enough killings and repression of workers in struggle!
This past May 5 union leader Argenis Vasquez, organizing secretary in the union at Toyota’s plant in Cumana, was gunned down by thugs as he left his house. This assassination occurred just after a month-long strike demanding improvements. The murdered worker was a leader of the protest and key in confrontations with the company and the management. It all looks like the unofficial “answer” by a company unable to impose its will on the strikers.
However, not even three months have passed since the deaths of workers Pedro Suarez and Javier Marcano in Anzoategui, in the eastern part of the country, during a violent repression by the regional police ordered by Governor Tarek William Saab as they tried to evict workers from that other Japanese transnational Mitsubishi Motors. The workers were occupying the factory as protest against the firing of 135 workers and for their demands.
These killings come on top of the horrible assassination of the three main leaders of the Union Nacional de Trabajadores –UNT (National Workers Union) in the state of Aragua, also at the hand of thugs who gunned them down this past November 27 in the vicinity of La Encrucijada. They were Richard Gallego, president of UNT’s regional section, Luis Hernandez, union leader at Pepsi-Cola and Carlos Requena, union delegate at Produvisa, all members of political party Unidad Socialista de Izquierda –USI (Left Socialist Union). These labor leaders were at the head of the union in a state with one of the largest rates of labor conflict in the country, leading the struggle in solidarity with workers who occupied the Colombian transnational Lacteos Alpina due to threats of lock-down and facing harsh repression by the regional police (then under the direction of Governor Didalco Bolivar).
There have been six workers killed during the struggle in barely five months. In most cases we’re talking about a policy of “Columbization” of labor conflicts: pay assassins to kill labor leaders and thus intimidate the working class and break up their organizations. Let’s not forget that workers at Sanitarios de Maracai (in Aragua) have been the target of various threats and selective prosecutions throughout the struggle, that the workers at Mitsubishi Motors complained that a car in which some workers were traveling was shot up when they were engaged in an information campaign about the filming of the killing of the two [Mitsubishi] workers, and that in June 2008 Gloria Palomino, labor leader at fan manufacturer FM (Fundimeca) in Carabobo, was wounded by a bullet in her leg during a drive by shooting while she was at the front of an occupation at the gates of the company demanding the enforcement of an order to rehire.
These killings (and attempts) of workers in struggle seem to define a method of conflict “resolution” in the midst of reigning impunity, since to date there has not been anybody politically or intellectually responsible for the killings and attempts found, tried or condemned. On the contrary, there is a process to criminalize worker’s protest, there are close to one hundred workers on trial or under orders to appear in front of tribunals for having taken part in protests.
Therefore the organizations and persons whose signatures appear below strongly condemn this situation, we loudly raise our voice in repudiation of the assassination of workers in struggle, by thugs paid by the bosses as well as by the official security forces, we protest against the rampant impunity and demand prosecution and exemplary punishment for those politically and intellectually responsible.
We are convinced that if these crimes go unpunished we slide dangerously towards a national situation of outlawing and silencing by force the worker’s legitimate protest and struggle.
Enough deaths of workers for fighting for their rights!
We demand of all the State powers the prosecution and punishment of those responsible for these crimes, to that end we propose the formation of an Independent Investigative Commission, made up of workers organizations, human rights organizations and relatives of the victims, with access to all the information and freedom to act on a real investigation of the whole problem!
We demand a stop to the prosecution of the workers on trial or under orders to present themselves to the tribunals for struggling for their rights!
We call for the widest coordination and mobilization of workers, students and human rights organizations, truly democratic intellectuals and artists to unite our efforts in a large national and international campaign against these crimes!
Asamblea de Trabajadores de la Toyota 15/5, Cumaná; Carlos Farías,Secretario de Prensa y Propaganda de SINTRATOYOTA; Sindicato de Trabajadores de la NESTLÉ, Sindicato Bolivariano de Trabajadores de CATIVEN; Sindicato Único de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de MANPA; Sindicato de Trabajadores de SANITARIOS MARACAY; Sindicato de Trabajadores de GENERAL MILLS de Venezuela (DIABLITOS UNDER WOOD); Sindicato de Trabajadores Bolivarianos Inversiones SEABOOCS C.A.; Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (SUTRA-UCV); Sindicato de Obreros del Comedor Estudiantil de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (SOCE-UCV); Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la UCV (SINATRA-UCV); Emilio Bastida y Marcos Guzmán, Coordinadores Regionales de la UNION NACIONAL DE TRABAJADORES (UNT) de Aragua; Orlando Chirino, Coordinador Nacional de la UNT y por la Corriente Clasista, Unitaria, Revolucionaria y Autónoma (CCURA); Sindicato Profesional de Insecticidas y Conexos del estado Aragua; José Bodas, Secretario General del FEDEPETROL (Anzoátegui); Frank Hernández del Sindicato de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de la PEPSICOLA; Cristhian Pereira, secretario del Sindicato de Trabajadores de CHRYLER AUTOMOTRIZ; Stalin Pérez Borges, Coordinador Nacional de la UNT; Tendencia Clasista Revolucionaria (TCR), SIDOR (Guayana); Centro de Estudiantes de Sociología de la Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV); Consejeros Estudiantiles de la Escuela de Sociología de la Universidad Central de Venezuela; Frente Unido de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras por la Vida, la Salud y el Empleo (FUTRAVISEM); Sismely Carrillo, Secretario General de SINUTRASUFAR; Juan Caracas, Secretario de Seguridad y Vigilancia de SIMBOTRAS BAN HEEL; Lisandro Noguera, Secretario de Finanzas de SINTRACORSUCA; Héctor Ríos, Secretario de SINTRASELVA; José Salcedo, Secretario de Organización de SINUTRAFORJARAGUA; Álvaro Ramos, Secretario de SINUTRAFORJARAGUA; Roberto Bolívar, Secretario de Reclamos de SINTRAEMPROQUI; Héctor Bolívar y Andrés Arriaza, Secretarios del Sindicato Único de LA GIRALDA; Pedro Garrido. Secretario de Organización del Sindicato de ALUCENCA; David Hernández, Secretario General del Sindicato VASOS VENEZOLANOS; José Contreras, Secretario de Actas del Sindicato de VASOS SELVA; Luis Jiménez. Secretario de Organización de SUNTRACALIPEIMA; Luis Hernández. Secretario de Organización de TONOROGAS; Rafael Figueroa, Secretario de SINTRASOBIA; Simón Mollejón, Secretario General de SINCROSOMA, Rafael Correa, Vocal de SINCROSOMA; Luis Torrealba, Delegado de Trabajadores de CATIVEN (Anzoátegui); Periódico PROCESO; Asociación Latinoamericana de Economistas Marxistas (ALEM); Patricio Silva, Coordinador Regional de Misión Sucre, estado Aragua; Radio Comunitaria ECOS 93.9 FM (Mérida), Colectivo Editor de El Libertario; ...
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