Venezuela trade union solidarity appeal

We have received an appeal for solidarity from Ricardo Galíndez, a trade union leader in Barquisimeto, Lara in Venezuela. Dear brothers and sisters,

We have received an appeal for solidarity from Ricardo Galíndez, a trade union leader in Barquisimeto, Lara in Venezuela. Ricardo was a member of the regional leadership of the Venezuelan Workers Confederation (CTV) in the state of Lara, FETRALARA. As a result of his intransigent defence of the interests of the workers he has suffered a number of aggressions. In November 2002, Galindez suffered a severe beating outside his workplace and has also been attacked by thugs at a factory gate while distributing copies of The Workers' Mole bulletin, of which he is the editor. 

Ricardo Galíndez

The beatings were related to the attempts to set up democratic unions in a number of workplaces in the metal industry. Last January the workers at Covencaucho, a tyre factory in Barquisimeto with some 400 employees, decided to occupy the factory in protest against the attempt of the boss to give them "unpaid holidays". Ricardo Galíndez got involved in giving advice to the workers. Shortly afterwards, on Sunday, January 26, Galindez was shot at in his own house. A bullet which was aimed at his heart missed by just a few centimetres and shattered his shoulder. That was not the last of the attacks. On Thursday, February 13, at 5.30 am, some 30 Covencaucho workers were attacked by armed thugs while they were going to their workplaces in the company coaches. Two workers were injured, one with a bullet wound in his arm and another one with glass fragments in his eye.

After a few months Galindez´s shoulder is now strong enough to undergo surgery. The cost of the operation is more than 14,000,000 bolivars (which at the current exchange rate is over $9,000). This is an extremely large sum which an ordinary trade union activist in Venezuela cannot afford (see operation budget, 1 -2). Therefore we are launching this appeal for trade union branches and individual activists around the world to contribute to cover this expense.

A slogan of the trade union movement is "an injury to one is an injury to all", and any attack on trade union rights in Venezuela is an attack on trade union rights worldwide.

We have set up a facility to make credit card donations on-line and you can also send cheques to:

Hands Off Venezuela Campaign
c/o Jorge Martín
96b Meeson Road
London E15 4AP
(make cheques payable to the "International Solidarity Club")
 We will publish the accounts of all the money we receive.
 Yours in solidarity,
 Jorge Martín
 Secretary, Hands off Venezuela Campaign