CARACAS – A student, a member of the National Guard and a man who was painting his house lost their lives on Wednesday in Valencia, a city in the central Venezuelan state of Carabobo, in acts of violence linked to the wave of anti-government protests that has swept the country in recent weeks, various sources reported.
Carabobo Gov. Francisco Ameliach told state-run VTV television that “snipers fired at their own people ... in the middle of the street, and regrettably there is one person dead and several wounded.”
According to information provided by local daily El Carabobeño, the student who was killed was Jesus Acosta, 23, in his third year of engineering studies at the University of Carabobo, who was shot in the chest as he stood in front of his house at 1:30 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Wednesday.
Ameliach said that the presumed snipers had positioned themselves on the roofs of buildings from where they could see a march by automotive workers whom they intended to attack and who changed their route when they were alerted “by security forces” about the presence of the armed gunmen.
The governor said that since the workers did not march along the planned route, “these snipers fired on their own people.”
He added that a few hours earlier, three members of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the country’s militarized police, were wounded by “criminals” who want “to isolate the country’s main port,” Puerto Cabello.
“The National Guard officers are all stable and out of danger,” said Ameliach after claiming that one of the opposition mayors in Carabobo was behind the acts of violence in the zone.
Minutes later, Ameliach said on Twitter that “terrorist criminals just killed a captain of the GNB in Mañomgo Municipio Naguanagua,” in Carabobo.
Valencia Mayor Miguel Cocchiola, who is a member of the opposition, later also wrote on Twitter of the death of “Guillermo Sanchez, 42, from a bullet wound in the violent acts in La Isabelica,” where Acosta also died.
“Guillermo was a humble Valencian who was painting the front of his house when a bullet ... ended his life,” he said.
The opposition leader and governor of the central state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, lamented the latest deaths on Twitter and expressed his solidarity with the relatives of Acosta, “who was murdered today in Valencia.”
“Another young man murdered in Valencia, how many more dead and wounded, Nicolas? You in the government are the big ones responsible for peace in the country,” said Capriles in another post, referring to President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela has been experiencing a wave of anti-government protests for the past month that have at times degenerated into violence that has taken the lives of more than 20 people, resulted in hundreds being injured and led to more than 1,000 arrests.