By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- The death toll after 102 days of street demonstrations against embattled Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has reached 115, according to figures from Venezuelan NGOs and local media.
The Attorney General’s Office official tally is of 91 killed since April 6th. No one has been charged in 88% of the deaths, according to Nelson Bocaranda's Run Runes.
Of those charged, the vast majority are National Guards, National and local police and “armed civilians”, a byword for pro-government “colectivo” gangs. The government has admitted to the use of “colectivos” in breaking up demonstrations since 2014.
All-news website Run Runes together with NGO “Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social” (OVCS) had counted 113 killed, the vast majority of them demonstrators and several as young as 14, until Tuesday afternoon. However, two more demonstrators were killed between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning bringing the body count to 115: a 17 year old boy run over while at a barricade and a 55 year old woman on a pension, shot in the head.
In a tweet, Bolivar state’s pro-Maduro governor, Francisco Rangel Gomez, blamed the death Tuesday of Oswaldo Rafael Britt, 17 and a nursing student, on demonstrators who hijacked a state-government truck -- the vehicle involved in the killing was from Hidrobolivar, the local water company -- and “ran over one of their own companeros, causing him to die.”
The Maduro administration and its regional allies routinely blame dead demonstrators for causing their own demise. However, both NGOs, local media and the Attorney General have reported and are investigating cases of Maduro supporters running demonstrators over, the most famous perhaps being that of Paul Moreno, a first-aid worker run over and killed while tending to injured protesters weeks ago in Maracaibo, the capital of oil-rich Zulia state.
The death in Lara state of Janeth Angulo, a 55-year-old retired professor, is being blamed squarely on the National Guard, the law-enforcement agency most investigated for killings during demonstrations and other crowd-control excesses.
Guards arrived at Angulo’s location in the early hours of Wednesday morning, just after midnight, to break up a demonstration by shooting up a barricade, according to media reports. Angulo was shot in the head. She is now the 115 victim.
The average age of the demonstrator killed in protests is 20 years of age, according to figures divulged by the Attorney General’s Office. At least 10% of those killed are underage, a review of the data reveals, some as young as 14-year-old Brayan Principal, shot in the abdomen and killed in Lara state during a nighttime protest.
Run Runes says one victim, a newborn baby girl who asphyxiated when police attacked a hospital with tear gas in Valencia, Carabobo state, is not included in its tally.