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News > Latin America

5 Killed in 1 Day in Venezuela as Opposition Violence Continues

  • A fireman tries to extinguish a fire during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

    A fireman tries to extinguish a fire during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 April 2017

More than two dozen people have been killed in Venezuela since the opposition launched protests against the government about three weeks ago.

Five people were killed in Venezuela in a single day as anti-government protests continue, making them the latest of several victims in about three weeks since the right-wing opposition began taking to the streets in Caracas and other cities in nearly-daily and sometimes-violent demonstrations to demand the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

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Social leader Efraín Sierra Quintero was killed after being injured during yesterday's protests, reported the governor of the state of Tachira, bringing Monday's death toll during protests to five people. Sierra Quintero was shot in the stomach as people were trying to steal his motorbike close to a barricade set up by opposition protesters, he said, adding that five more people resulted injured during the protests, including two military officers. 

Earlier on that day, Venezuelan authorities confirmed that twenty three-year-old Orlando Johan Jhosep Medina was also shot and killed during a protest Monday in the southern Venezuelan city of El Tocuyo, located in Lara state, officials reported. 

The public prosecutor's office stated that "the young man was in a demonstration ... when he received a gunshot in the head which resulted in his death immediately."

Medina's death comes amid a stream of fatalities in recent days. Most recently, Daniel Infante, a 25-year-old transportation worker, was shot Monday while participating in a pro-government demonstration in Caracas and later died in a health center from injuries, according to Venezuela’s ombudsman.

Another person was killed and five more injured during violent opposition protests in the state of Merida, Venezuela's Ombudsman Tarek William Saab reported Monday. Jesus Sulbaran, a criminology student and an official in the governor's office in Merida, was participating in a government demonstration when he received a bullet, killing him instantly.

The governor of that state, Alexis Ramirez, from the ruling PSUV party, demanded justice for both the deceased and the wounded. Four of the five people injured were also shot, including other state officials of Merida's government.

Meanwhile, in the Venezuelan plains state of Barinas, the public prosecutor's office also reported that 54-year-old Renzo Rodriguez Roda was killed, while five people were injured.

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Barinas state Governor Zenaida Guallardo said that people were hit with bullets and blamed right-wing leaders for these new acts of violence. "We deeply regret that these actions — totally denied by the leaders of the right — lead to mourning for a Barinean family. We hold those who call these actions accountable."

Two prosecutors have been appointed to investigate the deaths of the two men.

Speaking on VTV state channel, Ramirez said activists from the Justice First party and Popular Party — both right-wing parties — were responsible for violence against government demonstrators, blaming Merida's Mayor Carlos Garcia, a leader of the opposition Justice First and the rector of the Los Andes University Mario Bonucci, for the violence.

“The constitutional right to protest does not absolve (protesters) of criminal acts such as the ones seeking to generate political destabilization,” added Ramirez, saying that the pro-government demonstrations took place peacefully at the same time.

In a separate incident in Caracas, at the Francisco Fajardo highway, where opposition forces occupied the freeway, protesters were seen on video throwing a barrel of oil off of an overpass, putting the lives of those below at risk.

In the past three weeks of repeated violent opposition protests, hundreds have been injured and at least 27 people have died. Of those killed thus far, three are attributed to state security forces, while two of the dead are members of police themselves. The total number of dead is significantly bolstered by the eight who were electrocuted as they attempted to loot a bakery, while five of those killed were expressly connected to opposition protests. On the other hand, 10 of the deceased are attributed to right-wing violence.

Maduro has called for a broad dialogue, which the opposition has rejected and in turn demanded his removal from office.


This article was updated with the cases of Orlando Johan Jhosep Medina and Daniel Infante. Originally published April 24, 2017, updated April 25 at 3:45 p.m and at 9:30p.m. 

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