Merida-Duluth, January 14, 2019 (tatuytv.org/venezuelanalysis.com) In the region of “Sur del Lago,” located between the Venezuelan states of Mérida and Zulia, an anti-imperialist peasant march was held amidst the rising tensions in the lead up to January 10th swearing in of President Nicolás Maduro. This mobilization was organized by local, autonomous peasant, communal and revolutionary organizations of the National Platform for Peasant Struggle, in order to demonstrate rejection for the intensifying foreign aggression against their nation.
Around twelve rural organizations from the bordering states of Zulia and Mérida participated in the anti-imperialist mobilization. This march was just one of the activities that have emerged as a part of the national agenda established by the Platform for Peasant Struggle after the epic Admirable Peasant March that began on July 12 of last year. The peasants marched more than 400 kilometers, on foot, to present their solidarity, but also five very clear demands for the President and the revolutionary government; the legalization of rescued lands, justice for the victims of targeted assassinations and landowner financed violence, promotion of a national plan for cultivation, the restructuring of agrarian institutions, and establishment of a Constituent Peasant Congress. Although the appeals of the Platform for Peasant Struggle were heard by President Maduro on August 2nd, the government has yet to respond to the majority of their demands.
The peasants of “Sur del Lago,” on the other hand, as well as peasants and small farmers from elsewhere in the country, continue to uphold their side of the bargain, fighting for food security through their own production of cattle, milk and other agricultural products.
On January 10, just two days after the Anti-Imperialist March, José “Caballo” de La Cruz Márquez a 54 year-old farmer and peasant leader from the “Sur Del Lago” region was murdered by an armed gang, presumably hired by a large landowner for taking part of the recuperation of unproductive lands alongside three hundred peasant families.
The death of José de La Cruz marks the fifth peasant assassination since the Admirable Peasant March in July and August 2018.
There have been more than 300 peasants murdered by hired assassins and landowner financed violence over the last 19 years.