Santa Elena de Uairen. May 9th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- In the early hours of Thursday morning, Jorge Tovar, 24, a Venezuelan national police officer was shot dead in the neck by a sniper, according to official sources. The shooting occurred as police attempted to clear an encampment that blocked traffic set up by hardline anti-government protestors, or guarimberos, in the upperclass neighborhood of Los Palos Grandes, in eastern Caracas.
Injuries were sustained on both sides as protestors clashed with security forces. Two other police officers suffered bullet wounds, albeit nonfatal, allegedly by the same sniper. Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres reported that police have evidence of where the shots were fired shot from, but the shooter’s identity remains unknown, while a full investigation is being launched.
The police and national guard had organized that morning with the intention of clearing out the four remaining barricades in the Eastern area of Caracas.
Minister Torres said it was imperative these four guarimba camps be eliminated, “given the evidence that it was from these places that the most violent terrorist acts were committed: the torching of Metro trains and police vehicles, confrontations with molotovs and weapons against security forces.”
Some 243 barricaders were apprehended for questioning, although 12 were released hours later due to their juvenile status. A variety of weapons, including guns and homemade bombs, as well as illegal drugs, were found among protestors.
Among the arrested was a young man responsible for the burning of a National Guard vehicle, according to Rodriguez.
Later that day, near the scene of Tovar’s death, more hardline protestors attacked the Public Fund for Micro Finance Development (Fondemi) with explosives and stones.
Yesterday Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro pledged a medal of bravery to the bus driver, Jonathon Jimenez, whose bus was assaulted by protestors wielding molotov cocktails last week. Jimenez still remains in the hospital with severe burns.
“Can it be called protest to throw a molotov at a worker? That’s something we should reflect on,” said Maduro yesterday afternoon.
Another worker, Victor Yajure, of the United Socialist Party (PSUV), was kidnapped by unknown assailants in front of his home in Iribarren, Lara state. According to those who reported the crime, Yajure was previously aware of a plot designed by anti-government student protestors to frame him for arson of the local university.
Colleagues of Yajure are convinced the kidnapping had political motives, and condemn oppositional governor Henry Falcon of “abetting violent acts” by permitting the protestors to “control the area” for three months, under the alleged protection of local police.