Another Trade Union Leader Murdered in Aragua State, Venezuela

Hired killers were most likely those responsible for murdering trade union leader Jerry Diaz, 35, on Sunday 25 April in Maracay city, Aragua state.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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Paying homage to assassinated union leader Tomas Rangel in Barinas (Unete CTR).
Paying homage to assassinated union leader Tomas Rangel in Barinas (Unete CTR).
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Merida, April 28th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Hired killers were most likely those responsible for murdering trade union leader Jerry Diaz, 35, on Sunday 25 April in Maracay city, Aragua state.

Venezuela’s National Union of Workers (Unete) in Aragua said in a press release that a group of “bullies” had gathered in front of Diaz’s house and shot him in the back “several times”, killing him and injuring a member of his family.

Diaz was a member of the executive of the union of MANPA-Higienicos workers and secretary of vigilance and discipline. He had a wife and two children.

MANPA-Higienicos is a private company that makes toilet paper, serviettes, paper towels, and other such products. The company says that it and its affiliates employ over 1,600 workers in Venezuela.

Workers of MANPA-Higienicos stopped work on Tuesday to protest the murder and the lack of punishment and response to other murders of unionists in Aragua state. Two months ago, another worker from the same company was injured by gunshots.

So far a total of seven trade union leaders in Aragua, all members of Unete, have been killed in the last few years, including Richard Gallardo, who was president of Unete-Aragua at the time. Four of them were killed within a week towards the end of 2008, and all the murders were done using typical hired-assassin methods, where the killer either drives past or drives off straight after and does not say anything.

The congress of Unete last weekend unanimously approved a demand that the relevant regional and national authorities also provide an immediate response to and punishment of the masterminds and the actual murderers of union leader Tomas Rangel, killed on 7 January. According to Lili Rincon, a Unete leader, the case has been denounced to the various justice bodies but has received no response.