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CARACAS, Thursday February 21, 2013 | Update
 
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LABOR

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)
EL UNIVERSAL
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.
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Gagging Twitter users

Pablo Jiménez Guaricuco was summarily dismissed from his Clerk III job at the Autonomous Service of Public Registries and Notaries' Offices (Saren). He read a notice published in a newspaper on November 5 informing the public that he was no longer employed to the Saren. He was sacked despite the fact that he was taking a leave of absence from work due to a work-related accident, and that he enjoyed security of employment under the parental job-immunity privilege. Most probably, the decision was influenced by his role as a union organizer. But what did he do, besides leading protests, to deserve the sack? Well, he allegedly sent off a series of tweets that definitely hurt the sensitivity of the Saren Directorate.

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