March 7, 2011 Infoshop News
Just days after being sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment
for supporting a strike, Rubén González, General Secretary of the
Ferrominería 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'
Today, on Thursday 3 March, at 12 noon, judges for Rubén 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. Rubén has now left prison and has reunited with friends and
family in Ferrominería 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 Rubén 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!
González was imprisoned on trumped up charges in 2009 for supporting a 16
day-long miners' strike in the gold mines of Bolívar state, near the
Brazilian border, in support of collective bargaining (supposedly a kernel
of the chavista regime's industrial policy). The case's contradictions
became apparent, since González was (and apparently continues to be) a
member of Chávez' PSUV party, even running for office in a local council
on the ticket of a chavista-affiliated party.
Following his sentence, union branches, rank and file union groups and
human rights groups joined El Libertario in demonstrating outside the
Fiscalía (Public Prosecturor) office in Caracas. Despite González'
position as a union boss - and one who, at that, is fully integrated into
the chavista machinery - many protestors felt that a successful assault on
him would precede the targeting of any worker willing to engage in
industrial struggle. If one adds onto that Venezuela's slow slide into a
dictatorship (following Chávez' suspension of Parliament until mid-2012),
then his release must be seen as a victory.