CARACAS, Thursday February 21, 2013 | Update

Trade unionists death toll spikes 175% in Venezuela

NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Social Unrest says murders in Venezuela go unpunished

Trade union violence is on the rise in Venezuela for lack of punishment and social unrest (Photo: Nicola Rocco)
Thursday February 21, 2013  01:35 PM
Year 2012 was certainly not a good year for a trade unionist or a member of a workers organization. At least, this is the conclusion after reading the latest report compiled by non-governmental organization Venezuelan Observatory of Social Unrest, which reveals that 77 labor rights advocates were murdered in Venezuela.

The document entitled, "Trade Union Violence and Impunity 2012," states that violence soared 175% versus 2011, when the Human Rights Vicarage of Caracas reported 28 killings.

The observatory has attributed the frightening rise of deadly violence to three main factors: current social unrest, at least 15 demonstrations, 14% of which were staged by laborers; impunity, 96% of the crimes are not punished; and trade union parallelism, different trade  unions engaged in a single sector fight to one another.
Ailing healthcare system seeking a cure

The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.

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