By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Ruben Dario Gonzalez, 17, was shot and killed in Valencia, Carabobo state, Central Venezuela, Monday, during a protest against the embattled administration of Nicolas Maduro.
“We regret to inform that Ruben Dario Gonzalez 17 years of age has passed on due to a bullet impact. La Isabelica Sector 3”, tweeted Marco Bozo Tamayo, an opposition lawmaker representing Valencia. “La Isabelica” is a working class section of the city that started revolting against Maduro in 2014 and has with time only grown more radicalized.
Gonzalez had his name added to the list of 91 Venezuelans killed in protests since April 1st, according to a tally divulged by the Attorney General’s Office Monday morning, hours before his untimely and tragic demise. And while no suspects have been named in Gonzalez’s death, the same agency has reported that three groups are being investigated for most demonstrator kilings: National Guard, National Police and “armed civilians”, or pro-Maduro “colectivo” gangs.
On Monday morning, Venezuelans took to almost every street corner and intersection to stop motor traffic in the protest known as “the big shutdown” or “el trancazo” to protest against Maduro, even after opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was remanded to house arrest in an apparent goodwill gesture from the government, one that failed to win demonstrators over, however.
The vast majority of fatalities during demonstrations are protesters. Their average age is 10 years old, but about 10% of all fatal victims are underage, some as young as Brayan Principal, shot and killed in the city of Barquisimeto weeks ago at age 14. Young Brayan was just 10 when Maduro was elected and wasn’t even born when Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998, starting the “chavista” era that has lasted for 18 years.