The Cosa Nostrification of Construction Workers' Unions

metro630kg-09José Torres, head of the Valencia Subway workers’ union (seen on the photograph) died yesterday of his injuries after been shot outside of his house two weeks ago.

Two weeks before his shooting, he publicly denounced the slow pace of progress on the Subway, due to insufficient personnel to finish the long-delayed project on time.

That wasn’t the only attempt against an union leader last month. Manuel Díaz, head of Venalum’s union in Guayana was wounded after being shot twice on his vehicle. Another worker in Caracas who was involved with an union was killed inside the UCV’s premises.

Last year 77 murders related with labor unions’ affairs happened in Venezuela, almost three times as many as in 2011, according to a report from NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Social Unrest (OVCS). The large majority of these kind of cases remain unsolved.

87% of those deaths are connected to the construction sector, which is more and more a glorified cover for organized crime. Certain unions simply threaten contractors to assign working posts to their people and infighting between rival groups usually ends in violence.

A problem which started twelve years ago with a worker’s death in the small town of Coloncito (Tachira State) has become something that has spread all across Venezuela.