News / Americas

Chilean Woman First Foreign Fatality in Venezuela Unrest

FILE - An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas, Venezuela, March 6, 2014.
FILE - An anti-government protester throws a teargas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas, Venezuela, March 6, 2014.
Reuters
— A Chilean woman was shot dead while clearing a barricade put up by anti-government protesters, the first foreign fatality during a month of civil unrest in Venezuela, authorities said on Monday.
      
The death of Gisela Rubilar, 47, who was studying in the western Venezuelan city of Merida, brought to at least 21 the total number of fatalities in five weeks of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro's government.
      
“She was ambushed by extreme right-wing groups... She was vilely murdered with a shot in the eye,” Alexis Ramirez, the governor of Merida state, told reporters, blaming the killing on unidentified demonstrators in the Andean city.
 
Students and militant opponents of Maduro have been maintaining street barricades in various cities since last month, demanding the president's resignation and solutions to problems of rampant crime and economic shortages.
 
The barricades have become frequent flashpoints for violence between protesters, security forces and government supporters.
 
People from both sides of the political divide as well as members of the security forces have been among the victims of the country's worst unrest in a decade.
 
Venezuelan authorities said Rubilar was a mother of four and a member of the ruling Socialist Party. A classmate told Reuters she was studying higher education, had lived in Merida for six years and worked as an artisan.
 
“We've asked the Venezuelan government to investigate and give us all the information about the circumstances and cause of this death,” said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.
      
Overthrow unlikely
 
Though street protests helped briefly topple the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in a botched 2002 coup, there seems little chance the current unrest could lead to a Ukraine-style overthrow of his successor, Maduro.
 
The military, which played a crucial role in 2002, appears firmly behind Maduro. Opposition leaders are also split between militants who back the street action and moderates who believe that tactic risks violence and lacks widespread acceptance among Venezuelans.
 
The ongoing, daily protests are a mix of peaceful demonstrations and violent exchanges between security forces and hooded protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails.
 
Pro- and anti-government medical personnel held rival rallies in Caracas on Monday.
      
Earlier on Monday, the army announced it had raided a parking garage under Caracas' Altamira Square - a stronghold of opposition protests - and found a store of water, food, medicine, helmets and other equipment destined to keep the demonstrations going. Eleven people were arrested, the authorities said.
 
An increasingly confident-looking Maduro told supporters that the protesters had been defeated.
 
“We have faced a coup and neutralized it,” he said.     
 
But students are vowing to stay on the street indefinitely in what could be a protracted period of instability for Venezuela's 29 million people.
      
More than 1,300 have been arrested during the unrest, with 92 still behind bars, according to the government. More than 300 people have been injured during the unrest.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Argentina, US Creditors Fail to Reach Deal; Default Imminent

This will mark the second time in 13 years Argentina has defaulted on its debt
More

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Officials grapple with ways to deal with problem, provide shelter for thousands of minors among illegal border crossers
More

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Legal school segregation ended in the US 60 years ago, but research project finds it still occurs based on income and race
More

Cuban Tourism Industry Stalls in 2013; Up 3.9 Percent Through June

Statistics seen as latest indication of general slowdown in country's economy
More

Video US Senate Advances Bill to Address Border Crisis

Legislation would authorize funds to house, process tens of thousands of undocumented Central American minors arriving at southern border, but faces many hurdles
More

Urbanization Can Bring Health Risks

Researchers warn of increase in heart disease, diabetes
More