Opposition Cameraman Under Investigation for Gun Attack

An official investigation has been launched into the shooting of a farm worker last Tuesday morning during an alleged confrontation with workers from the anti-government television station, Globovision.


Caracas, August 30th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An official investigation has been launched into the shooting of a farm worker last Tuesday morning during an alleged confrontation with workers from the anti-government television station, Globovision.

According to witnesses, Raul Canizales, 34, received a gunshot to the neck as he tried to stop the team of Globovision reporters from entering “Paula Correa,” a collective agricultural unit belonging to a group of farmworkers in Aragua state.

Reports from witnesses confirm that the aggressors were wearing clothes bearing the Globovision logo, whilst the man who fired the shot is presumed to be a cameraman for the station.

“Some men arrived with cameras with the Globovision logo, they were wearing blue jeans, black caps and black shirts with the Globovision logo. They were pestering us with their cameras, they wanted to get statements,” said witness Benjamin Zembrano.

The Globovision team were reportedly seeking information on how the farming unit is run, and became hostile when they were told to leave by workers. Canizales was the only employee to be injured in the shooting and is currently reported to be in a stable condition.

Both the unit’s workers and the local community have united in condemning the news station following the attack.

“What really stands out is the total impunity and hatred which these people have in their hearts, they don’t respect the humble working masses,” said the president of the farm, Leonardo Raymon.

Spokespeople for the farming cooperative have also stated that they felt “totally helpless” when the Globovision team entered the farm.

On Wednesday, the government’s agriculture and land ministry released an official communication strongly denouncing the attack against the workers.

“We are expressing our most energetic rejection against this criminal action, and our solidarity with all the workers at the social production enterprise in Valle Los Tacarigua,” the statement read.

The statement also described the incident as a “fascist attack,” and pointed out that it comes after a series of other events in which government supporters have been targeted by the opposition.

The statement specifically mentions the violent actions of regional police at an opposition campaign march in the state of Carabobo earlier this month. Regional police officers at the rally are reported to have forcibly tried to remove members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) who had set up a stall in support of current Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez. Five people were injured in the altercation.

Although Globovision is yet to confirm why the team of reporters attempted to enter the farm, the news corporation released a statement on its website yesterday confirming that a group of its workers had been “present” at the time of the attack.

The channel claims that the incident took place after the team of reporters was “impeded in their work by presumed local workers who attacked them with blunt objects”.

According to the statement, Executive Vice-president of the news corporation, Maria Fernanda Flores, has taken a list of the names of those involved to Venezuela’s criminal investigation body, the CICPC. The corporation has stated that it will cooperate with the authorities’ investigation into the incident.

“We are informing the country that we were surprised by this situation, the ethics of Globovision have always been to respect and value the rights of all people, and to reject the use of violence of any form,” read the statement on their web page.

The event is the latest of a series of violent incidents to be linked to the news corporation, which was recently fined by Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Council (CONATEL) for manipulating coverage of prison riots last year in order to foster “anxiety” amongst the general population.

Venezuelan President Chavez has also ordered an immediate and thorough investigation into the shooting in order to bring those “directly and indirectly” responsible to justice.