Indigenous Yukpa Leader Assassinated in Venezuela

Cristóbal Romero was shot several times by armed assailants on Saturday night. 

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The National Indian Council of Venezuela (CONIVE) vehemently denounced the indigenous chief’s murder on Sunday. (Twitter: Rusbel Palmar)
The National Indian Council of Venezuela (CONIVE) vehemently denounced the indigenous chief’s murder on Sunday. (Twitter: Rusbel Palmar)
By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
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Caracas, July 20th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - An indigenous leader has been assassinated in Venezuela’s western Sierra de Perijá mountain range.

Cristóbal Romero, 60, a Yukpa chief of the Rio Piche community was shot several times by armed assailants on Saturday night as he celebrated a religious festival in La Villa del Rosario de Perijá.

 According to Venezuelan news reports, two subjects opened fire on Romero as he left a bar at 8.30pm. The indigenous leader received three shots to the chest and four in the face before his killers fled the scene on motorbike.  

While a motive for the killing has yet to be established, a number of Yukpa leaders in the zone have been victim to hired killings in recent years for attempting to reclaim their ancestral lands from wealthy cattle ranchers. 

The Venezuelan media also reports that Romero was a respected trade union leader and has floated the idea that the murder might have been carried out as part of a “revenge” killing. 

The National Indian Council of Venezuela (CONIVE) vehemently denounced the assassination at a press conference on Sunday, reported Wayuu spokesperson, Rusbel Plamar, on Twitter. 

Venezuela’s Attorney General’s office has confirmed that it assigned a district attorney to investigate the case on Monday. 

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