Caracas, June 16, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan campesino leader Roberto Carrera was shot dead in northwestern Carabobo State on Saturday. He is the latest victim of assassins hired by large landowners to put down demands for agrarian reform, according to national authorities.
The 36-year champion of campesino land rights died Saturday morning after being shot three times in the back from a pickup truck outside his mother's house in the municipality of Los Guayos.
Carrera, a founding member of the National Political Council of the leftwing political party REDES and a recently named representative to Presidential Campesino Council, fought tirelessly for the redistribution of idle land under Venezuela's revolutionary Land Law.
According to Juan Barreto, national spokesman for REDES, Carrera was assassinated for exposing big landowners unwilling to comply with national land reform statutes.
"This viciously murdered leader was denouncing the landowners of Carabobo, those land hoarders, [and] together with a group of campesinos, Carrera was threatened with death for merely denouncing these killers."
"It's not possible that in times of revolution they keep killing our campesinos," Barreto added.
The assassination was also condemned by the nation's chief ombudsman Tarek William Saab, who linked the killing to the murder of 190 other campesinos and demanded that the landowners and their hired killers be brought to justice.
"The large landowners don't have the right to be pursuing and killing campesino leaders. I hold this sector directly responsible for [the murders carried out by] paid assassins. Robert Carrera is the latest victim of these events."
Carrera's death comes two years after the March 3rd 2013 murder of indigenous Yukpa leader Sabino Romero at the hands of assassins allegedly contracted by large cattle ranchers, for which social movements are still seeking justice amid impunity at the highest levels.
Ombudsman Proposes New Campesino Rights Commission
Following a meeting with representatives of the Supreme Court of Justice, National Land Institute, and the public prosecutor's office, chief ombudsman Tarek William Saab outlined plans to create an "interdisciplinary" commission for the defense of campesino rights on Monday.
The commission would reportedly pursue "policies of a preventive character that assure them [campesinos] their citizen rights, not only to live but also to develop their work with dignity."
To this end, the commission would offer economic, social, psychological, and familial aid to campesinos as well fight to secure their land rights.
Saab also proposed the creation of a new Mothers of the Countryside Mission tasked with "providing social and economic assistance to campesino mothers" as well as creating new schools in the countryside with the support of the Argimiro Gabaldon Campesino University of Venezuela. Since its creation last year, the university has set up over 200 schools in 14 states.