from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On June 23, several armed assailants firing from a pickup truck shot and wounded Venezuelan campesino leader Braulio Alvarez in the community of Sabana de Parra, Pena municipality, Yaracuy state. Alvarez is a leader of the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ); he also serves as a deputy to the Yaracuy State Legislative Council (CLEY) and as a regional leader of the National Tactical Command of the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) led by President Hugo Chavez Frias. He was shot as he was driving home from a campesino meeting in Copa Redonda, Paez municipality, in Yaracuy. Alvarez was hit by two bullets, in the shoulder and leg; he was reported to be in stable condition after undergoing surgery, and was being transferred to Caracas for further medical treatment.

The FNCEZ is leading the struggle for agrarian reform in Venezuela, seeking to speed up distribution of unused lands to landless campesinos under the Land Law. Alvarez’s family and fellow campesino leaders believe the attack was a murder attempt. A few months ago landholder Vicente Lecuna said publicly that the land problems in Yaracuy state could be resolved with a shot to Alvarez’s head. More than 100 campesinos have been murdered since 2001, according to the FNCEZ, mostly by professional killers hired by large landowners. ( News, June 24; Radio Nacional de Venezuela, June 24; Prensa Latina, June 24) FCNEZ leader Luis Enrique Perez was murdered in Barinas state on March 19 or 20.

On May 4, hired killers shot to death Jose Luis Paz and his son-in-law, Julio Fernandez at their squatted homes in El Valle sector of the municipality of Machiques de Perija, Zulia state. The victims were indigenous campesinos, members of El Chamin agricultural cooperative who took over abandoned land over a year ago and began subsistence farming. The killers also fired at a neighbor, Favio Alvear, wounding him in the leg. Alvear said local ranchers had been threatening the squatters for some time. Dozens of campesinos protested the killings; the community fears more attacks. (Colombia Indymedia, May 6)

The National Land Institute (INTI) reports that the Venezuelan government has designated six large estates to be expropriated for redistribution to campesinos under the Land Law. The estates, totalling 284,267 hectares, are located in the states of Apure, Barinas, Bolivar and Zulia. (La Jornada, Mexico, June 21 from AFP)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 26

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #109


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, July 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution