Venezuela: Who Are They and How Did They Die? [New]

March 12, 2014

Since February 23, CEPR has been keeping track of those who have died during the last month of protests in Venezuela. Below is the most recent available information on the location, causes and status of investigations into the deaths. This list will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. As of March 24, the list contains 37 individuals; however in some cases press reports indicate that the death was not directly associated with the protests. Never the less, as they have often been reported as such, they are included below.

There are deaths on both sides of the political spectrum. In some cases, members of Venezuelan security forces have been implicated and subsequently arrested for their involvement. Over 10 individuals have reportedly been killed by crashing into barricades, from wires strung across streets by protesters and in some cases from having been shot trying to remove barricades. Six members of the National Guard have been killed.

–         Bassil Alejandro Da Costa, an opposition demonstrator was shot, reportedly in the head, and killed in Caracas during the opposition protest that took place on February 12.

–         Juan Montoya, a pro-government community activist, was reportedly shot in both the head and chest and died. Montoya’s body was found a short distance from the body of Da Costa. On February 26, the Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Diaz, announced that 8 officers from SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, had been arrested for their role in the killing of Da Costa and Montoya. As of March 11, 6 SEBIN officers remain in jail. President Maduro has also removed the head of SEBIN.

–         On February 12, Roberto Redman, another opposition demonstrator was also shot, reportedly in the head, and killed. The killing took place in a neighborhood in eastern Caracas. Witnesses attributed his death to armed civilians. There has been no update on the status of any investigation.

–         On February 18 José Ernesto Méndez, a 17-year-old student who was participating in a demonstration in the Sucre department, was hit by a truck and later died. The Attorney General stated that the driver of the truck has been apprehended and charged with homicide.

–         On the same day Genesis Carmona, a student and beauty queen was shot and killed in the state of Carabobo. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the she was shot from behind, potentially from within the group she was protesting with, though others contest that version of events. The government has pledged a full investigation. There have been no further updates on the status of the investigation.

–         On February 19, Julio Gonzalez, a member of the public ministry in Carabobo reportedly died after crashing his vehicle while attempting to avoid a roadblock put up by protesters.  

–         On February 20, Arturo Alexis Martínez, the brother of a ruling party legislator, was reportedly shot in the chest as he attempted to clear a path for his car amidst the debris left by a barricade following an opposition protest in Lara state. Witnesses allege that the shot that killed him was fired from a nearby building. On March 6, the AG announced that an individual has been charged for their involvement in the death.

–         On February 20, Asdrúbal Rodríguez was reportedly arrested for attempting to steal a motorcycle and then was found dead the next day. The arrest and killing occurred in Chacao. Two members of the Chacao police have been arrested and remain in jail.

–         On the night of February 21, Elvis Rafael Durán De La Rosa was beheaded by a wire strung across the Rómulo Gallegos Avenue in Caracas while driving a moto. The wire had allegedly been put there by protesters who had set up a road block in the same location earlier that evening.

–         On February 21 that a 37-year-old woman named Delia Elena Lobo had died the previous evening in the city of Mérida in similar circumstances to De La Rosa. The woman was heading home on a motorbike and ran into barbed wire stretched across a street. Nobody has been arrested for the deaths of Lobo or De La Rosa. Authorities have accused retired general Angél Omar Vivas Perdomo of having encouraged protesters to put wires across streets and have ordered his detention.

–         On the evening of February 21, Jose Alejandro Márquez died due to injuries to the head suffered in clashes with the National Guard. Seven members of the National Guard are being investigated for the death.

–         On February 22nd, Geraldine Moreno, a 23-year-old protester who had been injured by bird shot during a protest in Carabobo state a few days earlier reportedly died from head injuries. There has been no update on the status of the investigation.

–         On February 23 in San Cristobal Danny Melgarejo, a local student, was stabbed to death. The mayor said that the killing was related to a robbery, and not the student’s participation in protests.

–         On February 24 Antonio José Valbuena Morales was shot and killed, reportedly while trying to remove barricades that had been set up by protesters.

–         On February 24 Wilmer Carballo was killed by a shot to the head in Sucre state. Reports suggest he was shot by individuals on motos. On February 25, the AG announced an investigation into the killing.

–         On February 24, Jimmy Vargas died after falling from a second story building. Press reports continue to state that he was killed “after being hit by a tear gas canister and falling from a balcony,” despite video evidence to the contrary.

–         On February 25, Eduardo Ramón Anzona Carmona died after crashing his moto into a barricade. The accident occurred in Valencia in the state of Carabobo

–         Also on February 25, in El Límon, Jhoan Gabriel Quintero Carrasco was shot and killed near a supermarket where looting was taking place.

–         Giovanny José Hernández Pantoja, a member of the GNB, was shot and killed in Valencia on February 28. News reports indicate he was removing a barricade when he was shot. At least three individuals have been detained for their alleged involvement.

–         On March 3 in Chacao, Deivis José Useche died after crashing his moto. Press reports indicate that a manhole cover had been removed during earlier protests, which caused the crash.

–         On Tuesday, March 4 Luis Gutiérrez Camargo crashed into a barricade and died in the state of Tachira.

–         On March 6, a National Guardsman, Acner López Lyon, was shot and killed during an altercation in Los Ruices, a neighborhood in Caracas. News reports indicate that the National Guard was removing a barricade that was blocking a main avenue.

–         In the same altercation that took the life of Lyon, a mototaxista, José Gregorio Amaris Castillo, was shot and killed. The AG announced an investigation into the deaths.

–         On March 7, Johan Alfonso Pineda Morales died after he lost control of his moto on an oil slick, allegedly intentionally created by protesters.

–         On the night of March 9, Giselle Rubilar Figueroa, a Chilean citizen, was reportedly shot and killed by protesters in Merida. The AG has announced an investigation.

–         On the night of March 10, a student protester, Daniel Tinoco was shot and killed in San Cristobal. It is unclear who was responsible, though press reports indicate that the killing occurred after a day of clashes between the National Guard which was trying to remove barricades in San Cristobal. The mayor indicated that it was armed civilians that shot Tinoco. The AG announced an investigation into the killing.

–         On March 12, university student Jesús Enrique Acosta was shot and killed in La Isabelica in the department of Carabobo. Family members told the press that Acosta was outside his house when armed civilians began firing. Reuters reports that “the state governor said the shot came from snipers among the protesters.”

–         On March 12, the Governor of Carabobo, Francisco Ameliach reported that a captain of the National Guard, Ramso Ernesto Bracho Bravo was shot and killed during an altercation in the municipality of Naguanagua.

–         Also on March 12 in La Isabelica, Guillermo Alfonso Sánchez was shot and killed. The mayor told the press that Sánchez was painting his house when he was shot. The AG has announced an investigation into the three killings of March 12.

–         On March 16 in Maracay, José Guillen Araque, a member of the National Guard, was shot and killed. The circumstances remain unclear. 

–         On March 18 in in the Montalbán neighbourhood in Caracas a city worker, Francisco Alcides Madrid Rosendo was shot multiple times and killed, reportedly while removing barricades.

–         On March 19 in Tachira, National Guardsman Jhon Rafael Castillo Castillo was shot and killed while breaking up a protest, according to press reports.

–         On March 21 public bus-driver Wilfredo Rey, who was not participating in the protests, was shot and killed “during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal,” reported Reuters.

–         On March 21, Argenis Hernandez was shot in the abdomen; he died in the morning of March 22. Press reports indicate that Hernandez was shot when a motorcyclist was prevented from passing a barricade and fired on those present.

–         On March 22 in Merida, Jesus Labrador was shot and killed “during a shoot-out between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycles, according to a resident of the area,” as reported by Reuters.

–         On March 23 a pregnant woman, Adriana Urquiola, was shot and killed in the city of Guaicaipuro. Press reports indicate she got off a bus that was blocked by a barricade and began walking when she was shot. Opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles tweeted that neither Urquiola, nor another woman who was injured, had been involved in the protests. The Attorney General has announced an investigation.

–         On March 24, in Merida, a member of the National Guard, Miguel Antonio Parra was shot and killed during a confrontation with protesters, according to press reports. Further details are not available.

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