In the attempt to halt the peasants’ struggles for land, there are no methods that can be ruled out for the agrarian mafias. Sicariato, torture, threats, burning of crops and houses (cambuches, in terms of countryside), evictions.
Sicariato can be interpreted as cold and even distant; murder of peasants’ children, murder of the peasants previously tortured and mutilated sounds more shocking, although unfortunately it is a reality. These are their violent methods. They are not the only ones. These practices were applied by the mafias during 2018 in different states of the country (Mérida, Zulia, Barinas). The violence did not stop the struggle for land and the production of food that the peasant families continue to carry out.
The agrarian mafias also apply other methods. In addition to the prolonged delay of the institutions in charge of granting title to the land to the hands that work it, there is criminalization, judicial persecution, harassment and intimidation of peasant leaders. In the Sur del Lago they are currently advancing in this approach.
What is the supposed crime of these leaders? To promote the productive reactivation of the countryside. To encourage production in what was previously unproductive land in the hands of landowners who only used it for private gain. We must take concrete steps to advance in food sovereignty. We must defend democracy at a time when the country is being attacked by external forces with local complicity. As they cannot publicly express these charges, Camilo Bastos, attorney general of Mérida, as well as Jesús Leonardo Ojeda Coronel, assistant prosecutor of the 6th prosecutor’s office of El Vigía, initiate totally irregular processes to intimidate and terrorize those who are at the forefront of the fight for production in the area. Dossiers mounted with denunciations that do not even carry the identity card of the alleged denouncers, is an example of the practices carried out by both officials. Morel Varilla, a militant of the Revolutionary Current Bolívar and Zamora, is a victim of this persecution that these judicial authorities are implementing with impunity.
The peasant communities, as well as the organizations that work with them on a daily basis, call on the different human rights authorities: the Attorney General’s Office, in the person of Attorney General Tarek William Saab, the Ombudsman, Alfredo Ruiz, to intercede with these local authorities and to stop the persecution that they carry out against peasants who are producing food at a time when the country needs it most. This is how President Nicolás Maduro understands it, who in August last year gave Delcy Rodríguez y Diosdado Cabello the task of putting himself at the head of the commission in charge of stopping this type of persecution, intimidation, raids and criminalization against hundreds of peasants in different states of the country.