Venezuela: Unionist released


Just days after being sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment for supporting a strike, RubĂ©n González, General Secretary of the FerrominerĂ­a miners’ union, has seenting his custodial sentence annulled and his freedom partially restored.

Below is a translated version of the El Libertario statement on González’ release:


Today, on Thursday 3 March, at 12 noon, judges for RubĂ©n González’ case approved an order which allowed the unionist [sic] to step out onto the street. Evidently, his release is the result of generalised denunciation and growing protest over his seven year-, six month- and 22 day-long jail sentence. RubĂ©n has now left prison and has reunited with friends and family in FerrominerĂ­a del Orinoco in order to celebrate after their huge efforts [to attain his release].We must be clear that González has not yet received an amnesty, nor has he been completely freed from his prison sentence, which has only been suspended on the condition that he complies with the order’s conditions, one of which being that he reports in person to the judicial authorities every 15 days. As such,El Libertario continues to demand that he is exonerated, since it is not a crime to protest, but a right, and RubĂ©n is not guilty of anything for supporting workers’ demands.

We are pleased to be able to celebrate this crucial victory for social protest, both for workers who are willing to defend their rights, and for those individuals for whom safeguarding all that we have achieved after so much sacrifice is worth the effort.

Total freedom for Rubén González!
We have the right to demand rights!
Against the criminalisation of protest!

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Venezuela: The jail bars will not silence people protest

National and international campaign of epistolary solidarity with trade unionist Rubén González

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).
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Venezuela: All detainees released and charges dropped following union march in Maracay

All the individuals detained following Friday’s demonstration were released late on Friday night, with all charges forgotten following the apparent intervention from someone from on high. Rafael from El Libertario, who was amongst the detained, filed this report: “Doing away with all elementary journalistic conventions, I write this report in the first person.

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Venezuela: Preventing the State’s infiltration of social movements

This article was originally published in El Libertario #58, March-April 2010. Although originally based on the actual experiences of Venezuela’s social struggles, it deals with situations and facts of interest to activists anywhere.

For some time now the Venezuelan government has made systematic advances in the reorganization of the national police intelligence system, with the intention of discovering and neutralizing autonomous social movements that appear in the country. The Intelligence and Counterintelligence Law (temporarily suspended) and the new Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN in Spanish) are but two examples of this. In order to promote the necessary knowledge on this issue among activists, we give an informative recap of the different tactics used by the State to break up the antagonistic social fabric and criminalize its followers.

The State’s intelligence tactics
These tricks were developed and/or systematized by the COINTELPRO program of espionage, provocation and information the FBI used to destroy dissident political groups in the United States. They have been used by most of the world’s States and Venezuela is no exception. Here are some examples:

Surveillance: Intelligence and security organizations use the existing technologies to conduct exhaustive surveillance of activists to prepare the corresponding judicial files. To that end they use the existing surveillance technologies. Photographing, filming, following in vehicles, reading email and correspondence are some of the many tactics used against social militants.

In general, cell phones and frequently visited places are infiltrated by the police to eavesdrop in conversations and do what’s called “information sharing” to combine different pieces of information. Let’s not forget that in Venezuela CANTV (State enterprise that monopolizes telephone land lines) and most private communications enterprises lend themselves to such manipulation by the State.
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Venezeula: Anti-police activist assassinated

Anarchists in Venezuela* El Libertario, the Venezuelan anarchist newspaper, denounce the assassination of Mijail Martinez as the latest chapter in the Chavez government’s attack against base-level, autonomous, revolutionary and dissident organisations.

On the morning of 26/11/2009, Mijail Martínez – 24 years old – was assassinated in the city of Barquisimeto, Lara state. Martínez was a cameraman and activist with the Victims’ Committee Against Impunity in Lara state (commonly referred to as CVCI-Lara in Spanish). According to witnesses, two persons unknown attacked Mijail outside his front door, and after calling his name several times they fired several shots into his chest area. The victim was an audiovisual producer who worked on the television programme of his father, Victor Martínez, a longtime Bolivarian militant and former representative on the region’s Legislative Council. Demonstrating the contradictions within the so called “Bolivarian process”, Victor had recently been making a series of official complaints in which he had implicated a whole host of important, high up governmental and police figures in corruption and human rights violations. Victor told the media that he believes that there was a political motive to the murder, and that it represents an attempt to silence him: “Chávez, I helped you when you were imprisoned and abandoned and noone gave you the time of day,” he said, “yet you are clearly responsible for the death of my son and many other crimes, because instead of being the most fervent defender of the Constitution, you violate it. As a result, all Venezuelans suffer from the insecurity that there is in this country”.

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