We have just heard the news that all police officers involved in the repression against Mitsubishi workers have been suspended and handed over to the prosecutor’s office, on orders from Anzoategui governor, Tarek William Saab. The governor also declared that he had contacted the workers’ families and representatives to offer his condolences and any support he could give to them. 

We welcome this news. Now a full investigation is needed in order to make sure those responsible are brought to justice, and this should involve not only those who fired the weapons, but also those who gave the orders. The growing clamour of protest in Venezuela and internationally has certainly been crucial in ensuring this swift response. Now we must continue exerting pressure so that the investigation is carried through to the end. 

This incident is yet another demonstration of the impossibility of carrying out a revolution while maintaining intact the old capitalist state apparatus and its forces of repression. Here we see how, regardless of the repeatedly stated will of the Venezuelan people to build socialism, the judicial system and the police are still used to defend the interests of the bosses and not those of the workers. Despite the fact that the Bolivarian government has passed a decree making mass lay offs illegal, the Mitsubishi bosses ignored it and the police and the judges were used against the workers, not the capitalists. It is good that the governor has taken swift action, but we have the right to ask, why was the police force not purged in all these years?

This situation only benefits the counter-revolution. Cynically, the right wing media in Venezuela was quick to use the death of these two workers to attack the government: “What kind of socialism is this where the workers are killed by the police?” they said. And they are right, but they forget to mention that if they were to come back to power they would use much more violence to put down the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants. 

Tomorrow, workers will demonstrate in Anzoategui to pay tribute to Pedro Suarez and José Marcano. The Mitsubishi workers and their brothers and sisters from other factories who have supported them in the last few days will demand that justice is done and that their demands are met. 

Meanwhile, the counter-revolutionary forces are out on the streets throughout Venezuela, creating chaos and violence ahead of the constitutional reform referendum. These are two fundamentally opposed forces engaged in a life and death battle. The victory of the workers can only come through the expropriation of the factories, the land and the banks, and the destruction of the remnants of the capitalist state. In this battle, the workers can only trust in their own forces.