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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Clock Ticking for Congress to Act on US Border Crisis

This week is lawmakers’ last chance before recess to respond to surge of undocumented children arriving at America’s southern frontier
More

US Considers Screening Youth in Honduras for Refugee Status

Officials say children could be interviewed before they make dangerous journey to US border, as tens of thousands of children from Central America have done already this year
More

Video President Asks Central American Leaders to Help Stop Migrants

Obama tells presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras it isn't lack of compassion, but obligation to obey immigration laws that is prompting US to turn back many migrants
More

S. Africa Launches Campaign Against US Cuba Sanctions

African National Congress launches the Cuban Solidarity Campaign to work against long-standing sanctions
More

Honduran President Links Border Crisis to US Policy Divide

Human, drug traffickers 'perversely' exploit confusion about US immigration policy, Juan Orlando Hernandez tells reporters on Capitol Hill
More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US
More