Venezuela: Soldier killed, three more burned alive

One National Guardsperson was killed and three people set on fire across Venezuela as violent anti-government protests continue. 

In Aragua, National Guard Sergeant Ronny Alberto Parra Araujo died on June 27 of wounds sustained during what the Public Prosecution (MP) described as an “irregular situation” the day before.

Journalist Ramon Camacho has reported that Parra was shot while attempting to prevent looting at the Walio Supermarket in Maracay on the evening on June 26.

The Araguan capital was the scene of widespread unrest following the opposition’s call to block roads nationwide earlier that day. Sixty-eight businesses were looted and several public institutions were attacked, including a fire station, a national telephone company switchboard, and a national tax administration office.

The MP has also opened an inquiry into the non-fatal shooting of three other National Guard soldiers in another incident in Miranda state on June 26.

In Lara state, two residents of a government-built Great Venezuelan Housing Mission apartment complex were attacked and burned alive by opposition militants on June 23. 

According to testimony by the local communal council, Henry Escalona and Wladimir Pena were returning from a nearby party at 11.45pm when they were accosted by a group of eight masked men, who demanded to know if they were “Chavistas”. When the youths replied that they were government supporters, the assailants pulled out firearms and ordered them to kneel.

As one of the young men attempted to escape, the masked militants doused them both in gasoline and set them ablaze. 

Meanwhile, in the upscale eastern Caracas neighbourhood of La Castellana, another man was stabbed and set on fire by masked individuals who reportedly accused him of being a Chavista.

The attacks are the latest in a series of opposition lynchings of persons accused of being Chavista “infiltrators” or thieves.

[Abridged from]