Chalk a new point for the repression of the regime. Today it took its gloves off to repress the steel workers of SIDOR in Puerto Ordaz who are getting tired of the government delaying tactics for a labor pact. So the Nazional Guard, well trained from its repression against civilians and students attacked the steel workers, injured a couple, destroyed several of their cars, etc... Just to prove who is the head honcho here. Nowhere better to go for details but Aporrea, the chavista portal, the last place where the radical left has still a voice and where Marea Socialista criticizes the event better than what I could possibly do.
This being said, I have no sympathy for the steel workers though I condemn the repression they were subjected to. Why? You may ask. In short:
SIDOR was privatized by the government at great expense before Chavez came to power. The state created company had for a while worked out well enough but with time, like the decadence and corruption of the last years before Chavez, it had become a white elephant that could not be managed anymore.
Chavez could not tolerate that and even though the new company, with owners from Argentina, made a profit, produced more and more steel and even had part of its stock owned by the workers. So, in the fat years of Chavez he decided to retake SIDOR anyway and of course the workers cheered the louder they could. Now they are being repressed.
See, they cannot get a "contrato colectivo" (collective bargaining), they have basically being spoiled from the stock they owned, they got much worse bosses than what they were used to, and corruption has dropped dramatically steel production while a useless bloated bureaucracy has gotten in place and is defending its privileges. Nothing unpredictable in a state enterprise of a socialist system. But it gets worse and that is where I abandon them to their fate. See, Bolivar state where SIDOR is has gotten one of the most corrupt generals of Chavez as a governor and these creeps have been protesting him again and again, have threatened Chavez himself, and yet, when voting comes, a few promises and all of these creeps again and again voted for the chavista candidates. Well, Maduro did not make it but Chavez did in 2012 with 54%.
That is, they have tried to blackmailed Rangel and Chavez at election time and still they have been screwed more than once and now they are upset. And since Maduro lost and Rangel did not get 50%+ last time, well, there you have it, violent protests and violent repression. Triggered by insistent rumors that SIDOR will be sold to Chinese interests bringing Chinese workers to Bolivar. Rumors believable of course as the regime is preparing to sell everything (Citgo anyone?) to get fresh cash and survive some more to loot some more.
I am sorry but I am going to sit this one down, watching from afar how the revolution devours its own children. As far as I am concerned SIDOR is lost and might as well have the Chinese take over it.
Meanwhile Maduro proves once again that he is a nobody, not even capable to stop repression or order it (Aporrea asks the question to whom in fact ordered today's repression). The country keeps its slow slide into anarchy.