Puebla, Mexico, June 29, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Seven people have died across Venezuela over the past 48 hours, as violent anti-government protests continue nationwide.
The latest deaths include Isael Macadan Aquino, who was shot while participating in a protest in Anzoategui. Details of the shooting remain unclear, though local media has reported the protest may have devolved into looting, and authorities have stated Aquino is believed to have been shot during an “irregular situation” inside a commercial property. Two men have been arrested in connection to the shooting, though authorities are yet to suggest a motive.
Meanwhile in Venezuela’s second largest city of Maracaibo, protester Luigin Paz (20) died Wednesday at an opposition barricade when, according to the Public Prosecution (MP), he was “run over by a tanker truck”. Further details have yet to be made public.
In a separate incident in Maracaibo that same day, an unnamed motorcyclist was also fatally run over by a truck at an opposition barricade.
The death occured when the truck came under attack by opposition protesters, according to local press reports.
Two more deaths have also been reported in Venezuelan media, but haven’t been confirmed by authorities. These include Roberto Duran, who was allegedly killed during violence at a protest in Lara state, and Victor Betancourt in Sucre. The circumstances of Betancourt’s death remain fiercely disputed, with opposition supporters claiming he was killed during a protest, while at least one local journalist has suggested he may have been involved in a traffic incident while returning from buying bread.
The latest deaths bring the overall death toll in 13 weeks of violent anti-government protests to at least 92, including 13 dead at the hands of authorities and 24 attributable to opposition political violence.
More unrest has also been reported in Caracas, with the opposition-controlled National Assembly (AN) allegedly coming under attack late Tuesday. Opposition figures have accused government supporters of shooting fireworks at the assembly building, and there were reports of improvised explosives being used outside. Amid the chaos, a video went viral on social media of a military officer arguing with AN head and opposition leader Julio Borges. The argument ended with the National Guard’s Colonel Vladimir Lugo shoving an enraged Borges out of the room.
The latest unrest came in the wake of a high profile terrorist attack on Venezuela’s Supreme Court and the offices of the Ministry of Justice. Carried out by a rogue police officer, the assailant used a stolen helicopter to drop grenades and fire at government buildings. The helicopter was found abandoned in an isolated region of Vargas state, though the pilot remains at large.