National Guard soldier shot and killed a 22-year-old protester named David Vallenilla during unrest in Caracas today, bringing the official death toll since the anti-regime protests began on April 1 to 76.
Vallenilla was killed while protesting on the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas, near the La Carlota airfield which is located roughly int he centre of the city. A video taken at the scene allegedly captured the moment that Vallenilla was shot, likely with rubber pellets.
In the video, the man alleged to be Vallenilla (wearing a blue shirt) ducks behind a law wall on the outward-facing side of the La Carlota security fence. As the man throws an object into the airfield, two soldiers rush up to him. One of them is carrying a shotgun, and can be clearly seen firing his weapon at the man at point-blank range:
El Nacional reports that Vallenilla was shot in the throat, and that he arrived at the El Avila clinic with vital signs and died later while doctors attempted to perform surgery on him.
Vallenilla Killed During Round of Heavy Repression
Vallenilla’s death came as National Guard and National Bolivarian Police officers engaged in heavy repression of an anti-regime protest in Caracas today. Earlier in the day, demonstrators attempted to march to the Public Ministry office in the city in order to protest against the ongoing impeachment procedure against attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz.
The video below, recorded by journalists from the Noticiero Digital website, shows the authorities’ repression in the Chacaito neighbourhood of the city in the early afternoon:
The video below shows protesters running from clouds of tear gas, also in the Chacaito neighbourhood:
The two tweets below shows National Bolivarian Police officers advancing on a group of protesters in the El Rosal neighbourhood:
At least 16 people received medical care in the nearby Chacao health authority for injuries sustained during the protests throughout the afternoon.
Maduro: To Betray Me is to Betray Chavez
At a press conference held in the Miraflores Palace in Caracas earlier today, Maduro attempted to quell rumours that his disastrous run as president had caused fractures inside the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), and said that the Bolivarian revolution was far from over.
Admitting that there could be some level of turmoil inside the party and the broader Bolivarian movement from time to time, Maduro said:
This is a wise people [referring to the Venezuelan people]. It might be the case that some sectors get tired or confused sometimes, but there is enough strength to push this revolution and this country in the 21st century.
Maduro also said that no one “important” inside the PSUV has yet betrayed him, perhaps suggesting that people he does not consider important have in fact betrayed him. At the same time, he suggested that to betray him would be to betray Chavez:
Whoever stays behind, stays behind. Can you give me the name of an important [PSUV] politician who has betrayed Chavez, or me–which is the same as betraying Chavez–because wherever I am, Chavez is there…
Maduro: “I Could Talk With” Trump
Maduro held a press conference yesterday afternoon in which he appeared to express a willingness to hold a dialogue with United States President Donald Trump, although it is not exactly clear on what subject in particular or for what purpose.
Maduro made the comments during a section of his press conference in which he expressed his willingness to talk to people in general. Maduro said:
Today we’re here, victorious, and ready to talk to anyone we have to talk to, even the government of the United States.
We have to talk, and if the president Donald Trump manages to finally see the truth about Venezuela, I could even talk to him.
Maduro has made cryptic messages about President Trump in the past. In early March, Maduro referred to the president as “comrade Trump” and suggested that the United States was selling food to Venezuela “at a good price”. During the same speech, Maduro said that “there will be surprises” about Venezuela’s relationship with the United States, but never followed up on the comments.
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