Media from Merida state in Venezuela reported Tuesday that some community members burnt motorbikes and vehicles in response to the murder of a young community leader.
Community members of La Milagrosa, a working class neighbourhood, also blocked roads in rejection of the attacks by criminal gangs, threats against commune members and the control these gangs have over the area.
Members of the gang Los Camitos, according to community spokespeople, allegedly beat up Haniel Pena, 23, to death Monday morning. Two others were also attacked and seriously injured, including Pena’s partner, Joymar del Valle Morales, and teenager Jose Quintero.
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Reports are that Quintero, a revolutionary commune activist who suffered a pre-heart attack (heart attack symptoms) during the attack, has been detained.
Community leaders fear that other leaders of the We Will Live and Overcome Commune (Viviremos y Venceremos) will also be attacked by the gangs. The leaders are calling on the national government to open up “serious investigations” into the incident, which they believe is not just a result of “youth crime.”
Hundreds of rural leaders, indigenous leaders, unionists, and revolutionaries have been murdered in Venezuela over the last fifteen years—often by hired killers. There are fears such attacks could increase over the coming period.
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