Venezuelan Police Arrest Confessed Femicide Perpetrator as New Case Emerges

Mayell Hernandez’s former partner was arrested and confessed to her murder after a pressure campaign by feminist groups and relatives of the victim forced authorities into action.

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Feminist movements and other organizations marched to the Public Prosecutor's office to demand justice for Mayell Hernandez
Feminist movements and other organizations marched to the Public Prosecutor's office to demand justice for Mayell Hernandez. (JCV)
By Ricardo Vaz
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Pays de Gex, France, October 1, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities have apprehended a man who has confessed to the murder of 29 year-old student Mayell Hernandez, following a campaign from feminist groups against impunity in the case.

According to Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, Willian Infante, ex-partner of Hernandez, was taken into custody by Venezuelan forensic police Friday in connection to the femicide, which took place on September 3.

Shortly afterwards, Attorney General Tarek William Saab reported that Infante was being charged with aggravated femicide and would remain in custody while the investigation was being conducted.

Infante was presented to a judge on Saturday in Miranda State and reportedly confessed to having committed the crime.

“The hearing in the case of aggravated femicide against Mayell Hernandez has taken place, her ex-partner Willian Enrique Infante Borges, arrested on September 28, confessed to the murder,” reported teleSUR’s Madelein Garcia.

Mayell Hernandez, 29 year-old National University of the Arts student, dancer, and mother of a 2 year-old infant, had been murdered in her home in Charallave, Miranda State, on September 3.

Following weeks of inaction, in which authorities released Infante shortly after arresting him despite relatives namingthe man as the most likely culprit, feminist groups started a campaign to demand justice in the case.

A successful Twitter storm was followed by a march to the Public Prosecutor’s office on Monday, September 24, with high-profile figures such as Libertador Mayor Erika Farias and Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas joining the chorus via social media, in a grassroots effort that finally pushed Venezuelan institutions into action.

Appearing on the Venezuelan public television talk show Zurda Konducta on Friday, Mayell’s sister, Mayela, stressed how Mayell was a loving person and would remain an example for her activism and social work.

Mayela criticized the institutions’ lack of response after Mayell denounced her former partner and thanked feminist organizations for their support in demanding justice for her sister, adding that this should become a focal point in the wider struggle to stop violence against women.

“All Venezuelan women deserve the support we’ve had, and not just after they’ve been victims of violence, but to prevent it. They deserve that the institutions serve their purpose, and that laws be enforced, otherwise they are useless,” Mayela stressed.

Another guest on the show, lawyer and feminist activist Maria Hernandez stressed that, despite there being legislation in place, the action of security and judicial institutions is hampered by a patriarchal culture reproduced by state officials.

“We need more training and awareness campaigns, but from the perspective of popular power we need stricter accountability of these institutions,” she added.

While Mayell’s case moved forward, another high-profile femicide was reported, this time in the working class San Agustin neighborhood of Caracas.

According to reports, Ingrid Josefina Vargas Sequera, aged 45, and her 8 year-old daughter Sophia, were raped and stabbed to death in their home, with their bodies being discovered on Monday, September 24. The main suspect in the case is Leonardo Vargas, 17 year-old nephew of Josefina, who was seen leaving the crime scene the day before.

With the Hernandez case fresh in the national spotlight, community pressure and social media efforts, successfully brought about a quick response from authorities. Leonardo Vargas was reportedly arrested on Sunday evening and will be presented in court on Monday.

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