Venezuela: Soldier Killed, Three More Burned Alive

One soldier was reportedly killed in a looting while another three people were allegedly lynched by opposition supporters. 


Caracas, June 27, 2017 ( – One National Guardsman has been killed and three people set on fire across Venezuela as violent anti-government protests continue for a 13th week. 

In Aragua, National Guard Sergeant Ronny Alberto Parra Araujo (27) died Tuesday of wounds sustained during what the Public Prosecution (MP) has described as an “irregular situation” the day before.

Journalist Ramón Camacho has reported that Parra was shot while attempting to prevent a looting at the Walio Supermarket in Maracay on Monday evening. The Araguan capital was the scene of widespread unrest following the opposition’s call to block roads nationwide earlier that day. Sixty-eight business were looted and several public institutions were attacked, including a fire station, a national telephone company switchboard, and a national tax administration office.

The MP has dispatched a state district attorney to investigate the sergeant’s death. The Public Prosecution has also opened an inquiry into the non-fatal shooting of three other National Guard soldiers in another incident in Miranda state on Monday.

In Lara state, two residents of a government-built Great Venezuelan Housing Mission (GMVV) apartment complex were attacked and burned alive by opposition militants late Friday evening. 

According to testimony by the local communal council, Henry Escalona (21) and Wladimir Peña (27) were returning from a nearby party at 11:45pm when they were accosted by a group of eight masked men, who demanded to know if they were “Chavistas”. When the youths replied that they were government supporters, the assailants pulled out firearms and ordered them to kneel.

As one of the young men attempted to escape, the masked militants doused them both in gasoline and set the men ablaze. 

“Simply for living in Residencias Larenses, an apartment complex built under the revolution, these youths were burned,” affirmed community council spokesman Luis Rodriguez. 

Escalona and Peña are currently in critical condition, undergoing treatment for third degree burns in the local Maria Pineda Central Hospital. The community is requesting that both men be transferred to a burn unit operated by the oil industry in the western city of Maracaibo. 

Meanwhile, in the upscale eastern Caracas neighborhood of La Castellana, another man was stabbed and set on fire by masked individuals who reportedly accused her of being a Chavista.

“A young man identified as Giovanny Gonzalez (24) was burned and stabbed by masked men en La Castellana, who mistook him for a Chavista,” declared Interior Minister Nestor Reverol via Twitter on Monday. 

The minister indicated that Gonzalez had been “transported to a healthcare center and is in a stable state”, but offered no further details.

During a public event on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro condemned the aggressions, calling for the “unity of the people in the face of fascist violence”. 

The attacks are the latest in a series of opposition lynchings of persons accused of being Chavista “infiltrators” or thieves. On June 3, 21-year-old Orlando Figuera died in the hospital after being stabbed and burned alive by a mob of anti-government protesters in Altamira. The Public Prosecution has yet to issue a statement on the latest lynchings.

In another incident in eastern Caracas, a woman was accosted in a shopping mall by scores of opposition supporters Saturday who mistook her for the wife of a state television show host.

In a widely circulated video, the woman is seen being verbally and physically assaulted by more than a hundred protesters screaming “murderer”.   

National Ombudsman Tarek William Saab denounced the incident as a “hate crime”, which he warned could, if left unchecked, be the “prologue to a civil war”.
“To pursue and attack a human being with intention to hurt or kill them for their ideological position is repugnant,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Likewise, in another mall in Chacao, representatives of a communal council were harassed Saturday when they arrived to make a bank deposit for the sale of government-sponsored Local Production and Supply Committee (CLAP) food bags. The grassroots leaders from the nearby town of Galipan had to be escorted by National Guard personnel to safeguard their security.