Venezuelan Trade Unionists Shot at – Urgent Solidarity Appeal

Convencaucho workers under attack for defending their rights! On Thursday February 13th at 5.30 am, some 30 Covencaucho workers were attacked while they were going to their workplaces in the company coaches in Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. Two workers were injured, one with a bullet wound in his arm and another one with glass fragments in his eye.

Convencaucho workers under attack for defending their rights!

On Thursday February 13th at 5.30 am, some 30 Covencaucho workers were attacked while they were going to their workplaces in the company coaches in Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. Two workers were injured, one with a bullet wound in his arm and another one with glass fragments in his eye.

Last January Covencaucho workers, a tyre factory in Barquisimeto with some 400 employees, decided to occupy the factory to protest against the attempt of the bosses to force them to take “unpaid holidays” as a part of the opposition-called lock-out. These workers’ struggle forced the employers to re-open the factory and the removal of the old trade union leaders who were in cahoots with the bosses (http://www.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=528 )

José Capitán, a member of the Class Struggle and Democratic Trade Union Block in Carabobo describes the events:

“shortly before 6 am one of the company coaches was, as usual, driving down Libertador Av in Barquisimeto carrying a group of workers to the factory. Then a phone call told the driver to drive to a side street in the Pastora neighborhood. When they passed by a police officer the driver slowed down, someone shouted “here they come” and then a group of people opened fire on the coach. Nine bullets were shot and two workers were wounded… Another group of workers from the company were also on their way to work when an unknown man jumped on the coach and looked through it looking for the trade union leaders and founding none he left. The coach which was shot at was carrying three of the leaders of the newly elected trade union committee”.

Juan Carlos Pacheco, Campaigns Secretary of the Covencaucho Union (SINTRACOVIN) denounced the harassment which they are suffering at the hands of the former members of the trade union committee. Juan Pacheco appealed to the unity of the labour movement, to the police forces to act and to the national government to apply the full weight of the law.

This is not the first time that democratic trade unionists in Barquisimeto suffer attacks. On Sunday, January 26, shortly after the occupation of Covencaucho by its workers, Ricardo Galindez, member of the regional committee of the CTV in the State of Lara was also shot at (http://www.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=573  ). Ricardo, a trade union leader belonging to the democratic trade union tendency The Workers’ Mole was shot at outside his house and a bullet passed just centimeters away from his heart. Galindez had also suffered a severe beating outside his workplace back in November and had also been attacked by thugs at a factory gate while distributing copies of The Workers’ Mole bulletin.

After the occupation of Covencaucho and the election of a new trade union committee, the workers at Embutidos Semosa, also in Barquisimeto, occupied their factory on February 3rd demanding the full payment of their wages which had been withdrawn during the bosses lock-out. ( http://www.vocesurgentes.8m.net/proletarios.htm). This group of workers has also received death threats.


Semosa workers occupy the factory

The Editorial Board of In Defence of Marxism   and the Hands off Venezuela Campaign  make an urgent call for international solidarity. In the best traditions of the international labour movement, an injury to one is an injury to all.

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