On 7 May, a court in the industrial city of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, denied the possibility to the Union Secretary-General of Ferrominera (state-owned mining iron company), Rubén González, to be judge out of jail. Since the mid-year 2009, the union leader is in prison for supporting a workers strike to demand improvements in their working conditions. In August 26th 2009, Radwan Sabbagh- president of Ferrominera Orinoco- agreed with Gonzalez and made public the end of the strike as well as the reactivation of the employment records of a group of workers; also agreed not to retaliate against those who follow the cessation of activities, evaluate the payment of wages of those who did not work during the16 days demonstration and the fulfilment of their claims. However, days later, Gonzalez was arrested for his support to the workers actions and charged with the crimes of “illegal assembly”, “incitement to crime” and “violation of the security zone”. From that day he has been deprived of liberty, and if the court rule found him guilty he can be sentenced to stay between 5 and 10 years behind bars. González is a social fighter with a well known record in the region and is also a member of the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
The case of Rubén González is a dangerous precedent in the growing process of protest criminalization in Venezuela. Figures compiled by the Human rights NGOs estimated that there are more than 2,400 persons under schemes of presentation in court for their participation in mobilizations for social demands. These law procedures can take years, where other rights (freedom of expression, assembly, demonstration) are forbidden for those accused and prosecuted.
The Campaign to Defend the Right of Social protest, promoted by a number of social organizations, unions and human rights ( Provea, Espacio Público, Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo, Sintraince, Unidad Socialista de Izquierda, Socialismo Revolucionario, Paso a la Nueva Democracia, Periódico El Libertario, among others) considered that Rubén González is a political prisoner of the Venezuelan government, whose punishment tries to discourage the organization and the autonomous struggle of the employment sectors against their public and private employers to demand and defend their rights.
Rubén González needs our active solidarity more than ever. Therefore we are encouraging to make a close accompany in his days behind bars, sending him messages of solidarity, letters, postcards and written materials (preferibly in Spanish) with which we can help to maintain high his self-esteem, his fighting spirit and his sensibility for the injustices against the employees.
For this reason we call on all social and popular organizations in Venezuela, Latin America and the world to send him letters of encouragement and solidarity.
There are two ways to send messages:
1) via email: email@example.com. Weekly, a person of Ciudad Guayana's, will print the messages and take them to his place of detention. (Rubén González does not have direct access to Internet.)
2) By sending your postcard, letter or publications to the following address:
Patrulleros del Caroní (A la atención de Rubén González)
Parroquia Unare, sector Unare II, detrás de los trailers de CVG Alcasa y frente al hogar Madre Emilia.
Puerto Ordaz, Municipio Caroní, estado Bolívar, Venezuela.
Immediate freedom for Rubén González!
Full freedom to all defendants for participating in demonstrations for social rights in Venezuela!
Campaign to Defend the Right of Social protest: http://protestarnoesundelito.blogspot.com
More information about the case of Rubén González http://www.derechos.org.ve/?s=rubén Ferrominera&x=0&y=0 and www.nodo50.org/ellibertario