Uruguay: Trade Unionist Murdered by a Strike-breaker

Marcelo Silvera, the interim president of the Cargo Transport and Related Branches Union (SUTCRA) was murdered on the morning of 3rd January by a strike-breaker.

On that day, a strike was in effect in a transport company Transportes Viana in the northern department of Rivera. Marcelo Silvera, while taking his young son to a doctor, noticed one worker driving Viana’s vehicle, hence breaking the strike. He followed the driver’s truck back to Transportes Viana base, where he confronted  him. The scab driver responded by pulling his gun and shooting Silvera in the chest.  Marcelo Silvera died at the scene. He was 40 years old and left behind his wife and 6 years old son.

The assailant was known anti-unionist: in the past, he bragged about going armed to his workplace in order to intimidate workers so that they do not join the union, or union actions. He also allegedly offered to his boss to run over and kill unionists with the truck he was driving for Transportes Viana.

The Uruguayan Anarchist Federation issued a statement condemning the murder in which they write:

The assassination of comrade Marcelo Silvero will not remain an isolated incident without punishment. It should not be forgotten. We are obliged to escalate the struggle, to escalate our commitment to militancy for a society without bosses, middlemen, nor militaries.This is an alarm sounding that the political situation is beginning to change and it requires that we remain alert for the times that come. The only guarantee of change and victory for those from below is that of organization and struggle. (…)

(…)we believe that a united popular movement should come out to the street to denounce, demand justice, and prevent the same impunity that keeps allowing for these sorts of scenarios. But looking beyond just that, we have to prepare ourselves. More difficult and complex times are ahead. In our neighboring countries military persecution is becoming more and more normalized, such as the offensive against Mapuche and leftist organizations in Argentina and attacks against anarchist organizations in Brazil.

In response to the murder, Uruguayan transport unions have called for nationwide strike across the industry.


Pic: A Las Barricadas