World War 4 Report has been monitoring the Global War on Terrorism and its implications for human rights, democracy and ecology since the immediate aftermath of 9-11. With an international network of contacts and correspondents, we scan the world press and Internet for important stories overlooked by the mass media, and examine the headlines with a critical eye for distortion, deceit and propaganda. We report on the forgotten wars outside the media spotlight, and seek out unexamined contexts that go beyond mainstream sound-bite coverage. We endeavor to expose the corporate agendas behind the new military interventions, and to find pro-autonomy, anti-militarist voices we can support in the countries under imperialist assault. We support the secular, progressive anti-imperialist forces in the Middle East who reject the spectacularized “jihad-vs-GWOT” duality. We especially seek to loan solidarity to land-rooted, stateless, and indigenous peoples—the “Fourth World.” Above all, we are committed to real journalism (as opposed to mere opinion-spewing and bloggery), and seek through our example to resist its alarming decline. We are fastidiously non-sectarian, and our first loyalty is always to the truth.
So there you have it.
A recent report on events in Venezuela — Indigenous and labor rights in Venezuela: do our readers care? — poses an interesting question, which I hope this post goes some way to answering.
In other news, another casualty in the war in/on the “Fourth World” is “Venezuelan media activist Mijail Martinez, the son of a former state deputy for the chavista Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) … assassinated in a drive-by shooting Nov. 26 at his home in the city of Barquisimeto, Lara” (Venezuela: anti-impunity activist assassinated).
In just the latest attack on social movements in the country, unidentified gunmen shoot dead a 24-year-old cameraman involved with the Comité de Víctimas en Contra de la Impunidad (CVCI) in Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. Below is the translation of an official communiqué from Caracas-based anarchist newspaper El Libertario:
On the morning of 26/11/2009, Mijail Martínez – 24 years old – was assassinated in the city of Barquisimeto, Lara state. Martínez was a cameraman and activist with the Victims’ Committee Against Impunity in Lara state (commonly referred to as CVCI-Lara in Spanish – translator). According to witnesses, two persons unknown attacked Mijail outside his front door, and after calling his name several times they fired several shots into his chest area. The victim was an audiovisual producer who worked on the television programme of his father, Victor Martínez, a longtime Bolivarian militant and former representative on the region’s Legislative Council. Demonstrating the contradictions within the so called “Bolivarian process”, Victor had recently been making a series of official complaints in which he had implicated a whole host of important, high up governmental and police figures in corruption and human rights violations.
Victor told the media that he believes that there was a political motive to the murder, and that it represents an attempt to silence him: “Chávez, I helped you when you were imprisoned and abandoned and noone gave you the time of day,” he said, “yet you are clearly responsible for the death of my son and many other crimes, because instead of being the most fervent defender of the Constitution, you violate it. As a result, all Venezuelans suffer from the insecurity that there is in this country”.
This political attack must be understood within a regional context of degradation at every level of government. As human rights organisations such as Provea have detailed, the state police in Lara have the second worst record nationally for human rights violations, accumulating 19.4% of all cases in 2008, with a total of 31 victims. State police have also been accused of participating in extortion, bank robberies, kidnappings and the production and trafficking of drugs in Barquisimeto, activities which overwhelmingly affect the poor.
The chronic situation in Lara has led to the formation of a number of popular organisations, one being the CVCI, which was founded in 2004. The CVCI has denounced the involvement of high-ranking regional officials – such as Rodríguez Figuera, the former police commander – in the creation of police mafias, alongside Luis Reyes Reyes, the previous state governor, who also participated and then covered his role up. Instead of investigating the official complaints, federal government rewarded the ex-governor, putting him in charge of the Ministry of Popular Power for the Presidential Secretary (which enforces Chávez’ edicts in national Congress – translator).
Due to their reports and demonstrations, CVCI activists have received a number of death threats and a number of attempts to criminalise their work. Mijail Martínez had been recording on video the organisation’s public activities with the intention of making a documentary about the members’ experiences. Some of his work can be found at http://www.vimeo.com/5130428 (in Spanish).
El Libertario denounce this event as the latest chapter in the government’s attack against base-level, autonomous, revolutionary and dissident organisations. We also send our messages of condolence and hurt to Mijail’s family and friends. Mijail was a young man, committed to social struggle, and we can personally testify as to his enthusiasm and comradely nature. We also consider this crime to be just one part of the criminalisation of popular protest undertaken by a government which is subservient to globalised capitalism.
Finally, we denounce the complicity of the government, of the media at both local and pseudo-“community” levels, of the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the Justice Courts for any action that puts in jeopardy the life and/or integrity of Victor Martínez and his family, other CVCI activists and members of other popular social struggles within the state which have registered complaints – complete with full names – against the involvement of police and state functionaries in corruption, drug-trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and assassination in the Central-Western region of the country.
See also : Anarchy is a (Brazilian) FAG! // Smith Street Boogie (November 20, 2009) | Hail Ahmadinejad! Hail Chávez! (June 16, 2009) | Dear President Chávez (May 25, 2009).
At the head of everything is God, the Lord of Heaven.
Everyone knows that.
Then comes Prince Torlonia, lord of the earth.
Then come Prince Torlonia’s guards.
Then come Prince Torlonia’s guards’ dogs.
Then, nothing at all.
Then, nothing at all.
Then, nothing at all.
Then come the peasants. And that’s all.
~ Ignazio Silone, Fontamara (1931).