This Tuesday, March 14, the Attorney General of the Republic of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, announced via social media that four people were presented before the Second Court of Calabozo, Guárico state, for their alleged responsibility in the murder of peasant leader Carlos Bolívar Cedeño.
Carlos Rivero and Mariangélica Mujica were presented for the crimes of assassination in the degree of necessary accomplices, criminal association, and use of an adolescent to commit the crime that occurred on Thursday, March 2, around 6 a.m. Alexis Silva and José Mujica were the other two suspects, presented for the crimes of contract killing to the degree of necessary accomplices, and association to commit a crime.
This Wednesday, Saab also reported that two new arrest warrants have been requested, and that the physical perpetrator was killed during a clash with law enforcement agents, while the intellectual perpetrator—i.e. the brains behind the operation—is still free.
Venezuela’s Peasant Movement Demands Justice for Assassination of Carlos Bolívar (+Los Tramojos)
The names of the alleged perpetrators of Bolívar’s murder were known the day after over 300 peasants went to Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and established agreements with the National Assembly (AN) and the General Prosecutor’s Office, to demand justice in this case as well as many other cases where landowners pay hitmen to kill peasant leaders and activists.
Saab stated that the Public Ministry will apply the full weight of the law “to those who promote or sponsor the selective assassination of our peasant leaders to favor the interests of a minority.”
Bolívar was a historic leader of the struggle to rescue the Los Tramojos ranch, an emblematic case of the Admirable Peasant March, as well as a national leader of the Platform for Peasant Struggle and the National Peasant Movement. He was also a spokesperson for the Ezequiel Zamora Commune, in the El Jabillal 1 sector of Arismendi municipality, Guárico state. He was assassinated at the start of his workday in Puerto Carrizalero-Camaguán.
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Prosecutor’s Office, National Assembly, and peasants
According to information released by the National Peasant Movement, the agreement established with the Prosecutor’s Office and the AN included to “update data on peasants prosecuted (prisoners, with arrest warrants, under presentation), as well as victims of hitmen.” Within this framework, they incorporated nine cases that had been presented on Monday during the march in Caracas.
The parties also agreed to review the case of the detained peasant activist “Glinis Méndez, who presents a delicate health condition, for whom we request humanitarian measures.”
“It was agreed to present a supporting document for the Protection Measures for peasant leaders at risk, as is the case of Los Tramojos,” reads the text of the National Peasant Movement.
1) #CarlosCedeñoBolívar Fiscal 60 Nacional y 18 Guárico, el 11/03/23 #presentó ante el Tribunal 2do de Calabozo a los sicarios: Carlos Rivero y Mariangelica Mujica por los #Delitos de SICARIATO EN GRADO DE COMPLICES NECESARIOS, ASOCIACIÓN PARA DELINQUIR… pic.twitter.com/ISZkjTQNFh
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) March 14, 2023
3) El @MinpublicoVEN bajo nuestra gestión aplica y aplicará todo el peso de la #LEY contra quienes promueven o auspicien el #asesinato selectivo de nuestros líderes campesinos para favorecer a intereses de una minoría pic.twitter.com/X68iBiNkYI
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) March 14, 2023
El @MinpublicoVEN ha solicitado 2 nuevas ordenes de #aprehensión contra los #sicarios que participaron del homicidio del líder campesino Carlos Bolívar: estas se suman a los 4 delincuentes ya apresados por este crimen…
El autor material cayó abatido durante los enfrentamientos. pic.twitter.com/WOS7NAgOCQ
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) March 15, 2023
Local news outlet Venezuelanalysis reported that peasant collectives took to the streets of Caracas this Monday to demand justice for Carlos Bolívar.
“We are here to urge national authorities to open a deep investigation into the assassination of Carlos Bolívar,” Jesús Osorio, also a prominent figure of the Peasant Struggle Platform, told Venezuelanalysis. “This is one of the most emblematic land struggles we have seen, and one where a powerful landowner has used his influence to subvert justice.”
Ramón Soto, fellow member of the Ezequiel Zamora Peasant Council, amplified calls for a thorough investigation. “The situation needs to be clarified and those responsible must be punished, no matter who they are.”
Supreme Court of Venezuela Rules in Favor of Peasants of Los Tramojos
In February 2022, around 30 peasant families secured land titles spanning some 2,900 hectares of the 4,800-hectare Los Tramojos plot. They had recovered the unproductive land in 2010 under the conditions set by the Land Law, but were violently evicted in 2017 after local landowner José Elías Chirimelli presented title deeds that were later proven to be forgeries.
Many peasant activists and leaders point at Chirimelli as the intellectual perpetrator of the plot that ended the life of Carlos Bolívar. They also reject the connection of Chirimelli with the current governor of Guárico state, PSUV official José Manuel Vásquez.
“We feel constantly threatened because Chirimelli received the plot right next to ours,” he said. “Not just that; after he forged documents, why was he rewarded with land?” Soto asked, urging for the National Land Institute take action to remove Chirimelli from the area and either award the land to peasants or use it for public works, reported Venezuelanalysis.
(Alba Ciudad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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