Mobilization and pressure from the workers achieved Rubén González’ release! We have to go for more!
Yesterday, Thursday, around noon, comrade Rubén González was released. Three days after the sentence of seven and a half years in jail, pronounced by the Puerto Ordaz Sixth Trial Court, for participating in the sixteen-day strike of the iron miners in June, 2009, an order for release from prison, issued by the Supreme Court of Justice, arrived. The widespread repudiation from the organized workers’ movement, the mobilizations and partial strikes that had taken place in Guayana in the days following the sentence — some with skirmishes with the repressive forces — and the willingness expressed by different unions to organize mobilizations and strikes at the national level in rejection of the sentence, bore fruit: the working class scored a victory, in getting one of its own out of jail, a result of its mobilization and pressure.
The workers’ response twisted the government’s arm
With the imprisonment and sentencing of Rubén González, the government sought to teach a lesson to the workers who struggle resolutely, with their own methods for their demands, but the correlation of forces did not allow them to. With the sentence, the government bet on throwing its weight around, and the outrage in view of the disgraceful sentence produced a response that the government was probably not expecting. Even groups of the union bureaucracy connected to the government, that had been maintaining a conspiratorial silence in view of the criminalization of struggles and the imprisonment of Rubén González, repudiated the sentence.
Practically the entire national union spectrum — except for a few shameful exceptions, like that of Francisco Torrealba, a “trade unionist-deputy” of the FSBT — repudiated the measure. Thus, the government that was simultaneously sentencing a worker to almost eight years in jail for going on strike, comes to an agreement with the bourgeois opposition to release right-wing politicians imprisoned for corruption or violating human rights, had to retreat and quickly take back its decision, fearing that this attack on the working class would bring with it a greater development of workers’ conflicts and a wave of struggles for the right to strike and against the criminalization of struggles, would take place, combined with the struggle for wages and collective hiring agreements. For that reason, the fact that Rubén González is outside of jail is an undeniable victory of the workers, who twisted the arm of Chávez’ government.
“My only offense is representing the workers in their just cause,” Rubén González declared, igniting the outcry of all the workers, who, by fighting for his release, displayed a big example of class solidarity. And it is precisely that “offense” that Chávez’ government, which calls itself “pro-worker,” has been wanting to penalize, as it affirmed from Ciudad Piar, when it made a real threat and declaration of war on the working class of the region, if they organized strikes or work stoppages for their rights. This time, that policy suffered a setback, since the struggle managed to reverse the repressive and punitive measure and is bringing back a workers’ leader to his place in the fight, because of which the government wanted to bury him in prison since, as Rubén González himself told the press on leaving prison, “I will continue defending workers’ interests; if I fail to do that, I would be a traitor … Our duty is to defend the rights of the workers.”
We must go for more: Complete freedom for Rubén González and dropping the charges for all those indicted and prosecuted for struggling!
The order, however, grants a conditional release, with the obligation of presenting himself every 15 days. As Rubén González declared in the morning, “Today at 9:30 a.m., I received pleasant news that they are releasing me with the provision of appearing every 15 days … but what decision is being taken about the 7 years and 6 months of the sentence against me has not been disclosed … I greet all the workers’ forces of Guayana and of the country, all those that have supported me and shown their solidarity with this struggle, but I am not completely satisfied because the release is not total.” For that reason, the struggle continues for complete release and total acquittal of all the charges made against him, as well as for dropping the charges against all the working men and women prosecuted and criminalized for struggling. Dozens and dozens of militant workers still have trials underway, and are prohibited from participating in demonstrations or mobilizations, or in activities in workplaces, or from mobilizing anywhere in the country or are under orders to show up at courts: bringing all this down is part of the struggle to come.
From the Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo (LTS), we put our modest forces at the service of this great workers’ cause, initially with a campaign of our own, and then with the boost to the Committee for the Release of Rubén González, beside comrades of other organizations and independent activists. We share the jubilation that filled the militant workers’ movement at the news of the release of comrade González, and we will continue providing our forces to fight for his complete freedom and acquittal of all the charges against him, as well as the full right for workers’ and popular protest.
March 4, 2011
LTS LIGA DE TRABAJADORES POR EL SOCIALISMO
www.lts.org.ve / [email protected]
Member organization of the FRACCIÓN TROTSKISTA – CUARTA INTERNACIONAL