Venezuela: 43 arrests on union march in Maracay

BREAKING NEWS (12/03/10, 4:45pm local time): 43 people have been arrested in a demonstration for labour and human rights and the return of collective contracts in the city of Maracay, Aragua state, Venezuela. Amongst the detained are three members of the human rights organisation, Provea, and an editor of the anarchist newspaper El Libertario.

Information is still scarce, but it appears that the demonstration - which had been organised by around 30 separate unions and was comprised of more than 200 people - was prevented from moving off by police, who attacked the assembled with tear gas. In the process of dissolving the congregated mass - who were calling for the right to protest, the return of collective contracts and freedom for Rubén González, the imprisoned union leader in Bolívar state - some 43 individuals were detained.

The three detained comrades thus far identified are Rafael Uzcategui (from El Libertario, and there in his capacity as an official human rights observer with Provea), Marcos Ponce and Robert Calzadilla. "Unfortunately, it is to do with our stance against the intolerance of social protest," commented a Provea spokesman in Caracas. "We hope that our comrades will soon be granted unconditional freedom".

More news forthcoming as and when, for the meantime, Spanish speakers can check this article on the website of the antichavista daily, El Universal.

Posted By

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 12 2010 21:41


Attached files


Mar 13 2010 14:17

Not to play the 'defender of chavez' but I understand that each state in Venezuela acts almost completely differently in relation to these kinds of instances, especially in the orders the police receive and the kind of authority they have? Is this a right wing 'state' or 'Chavezista? '

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 13 2010 16:10

UPDATE: All 27 detainees (not sure what happened to the other 16) were liberated late last night, with all charges dropped! Complete update to come in an hour or so.

Mar 13 2010 20:05

After reading this post I decided to look into the city and state there. The mayor of the city as well as the governor of the state are both PSUV and on their websites are substantial communist phraseology and symbolism, including mention of various "Fronts" and showcasing massive demonstrations for these authorities.

Obviously genuine communists in the PSUV have to confront the horror story of "Socialist" government thugs attacking and imprisoning our class comrades. As the anarchists say, "direct action gets the goods," and it's definitely true here. In order for workers to defend their interests against the "Socialist" state, whether it is a Greek one or a Venezuelan one, they must arm themselves and invest their collective power in workers' councils, over and against the brutality of these police. Politically they ought to appeal to the workers of the PSUV to cast out the bourgeois and petit-bourgeois bureaucrats as well as the "proletarian" hierarchs who insist on apologetics for the anti-working-class activities of "United Socialist" cops.

Here is the automatic Google translation of Mayor of Maracay, Pedro Bastidas' website:
And here is the automatic Google translation of the governor Rafael Isea's website:

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 13 2010 22:52

Thanks Zantueron. I'd just like to reiterate his point: Aragua is chavista heartland. The police dept in action yesterday was the state police (Poliaragua).

Moreover, I think the characterisation - by chavista apologists - of anti-worker actions by the state as being the autonomous work of the oposición is grossly simplified. There's a complex matrix of seniority and interaction between the nation's multilayered police forces.

Anyway, here's some good news and some insight into yesterday's events:

Mar 14 2010 06:03

Caiman, I agree with your appraisal. The relationship between individual police, politce departments, and the predominant political direction of the society - all within and atop the whole fucking mess of capitalism and all social relations - is complicated. No doubt there exists a "complex matrix of seniority and interaction between the nation's multilayered police forces." I posit that that police as such are predestined to be among the laggiest layers of any class substratum to come to the socialist perspective except the cynical, "evil" strata of class-conscious big bourgeois.

So while the Venezuelan police's activities constitute that "laggy consciousness" (which puts it unnecessarily mildly) they also show the serious weakness of the PSUV's strategy. They are "counter-revolutionaries in red shirts," but they are more than that. Most provocateurs, I posit, are not consciously counter-revolutionary. Actually, they only lack a sufficiently thorough analysis, which nevertheless cannot be instilled but through the course of events alone - as with the police.

Perhaps in this connection police could be acting against the working class not as sinister PSUV thugs (although that's entirely believable, considering the petit- and bourgeois influence within) nor as active assistance of the counter-revolutionary, openly bourgeois opposition, but somewhat "independently" in their "class" - stratum - interests. I don't know that this is true, but only put it forward as a third possibility to the two previous suggestions about the real objective basis of this fucked up police "socialist" bs.

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 14 2010 18:42

Poliaragua themselves have received 'training' in 'human rights' from a chavista ONG (Red para la paz y justicia), as part of the chavista administration's policy of "raising consciousness" in police and military.

This example seems rather strange though, as if the state police got rebuked and overruled by some federal authorities in Caracas.

Mar 15 2010 11:31

200 people? 30 organizations? If my arithmetic don't lie me it's 6-7 people per each group smile

What political spectrum did this people represent? Were there a lot of ex-chavistas from UNT? Other antichavista left?

And the most important: What percent of the demo were "normal" unionists and other workers. I mean: looking at the number of organizations it seems that mostly union bonzos/staff NGO activists took part in this demo.

Mar 15 2010 15:01

I also am interested in politics of participants (see my question on other thread re this demo and arrests). And my friend asks a good question, if low number of participants per organization means that union leaders took part, but not rank and file. (?)

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 16 2010 01:04

Apologies for the slow reply, my internet connection is absolutely appalling (one of the many fun things about living out here).

As concerns the numbers of the groups represented, I believe participants are estimating 200-300 so take your own conclusions from that. 30 groups co-signed the callout, I couldn't comment on how many were actually present. The demo was led by UNETE, which is - as H2 rightly says - is mostly antichavista (post-chavista if you will wink) left, including all the colours in the Trotsykist rainbow.

I can't comment authoritatively on Akai's suspicion that there were more union leaders than rank and file. The reports I read referred to both "trabajador@s y dirigentes sindicales" being present. Generally speaking, I think it's fair to say that the antichavista/unionist left is small but growing within Venezuela.

I do know that the arrested were released partially due to the high profile of many of them in civil society (the Provea 3 were mentioned by name in El Universal; Rafael considers it to be a "sad privilege" that isn't afforded to the other 2200+ Venezuelans undergoing legal proceedings as a result of demonstrating).