By Cintia Garcia

Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

 Caracas, Venezuela—Venezuela has had over three weeks of anti-government protests and it is turning deadly. Last week, a fifth person has died from their injuries sustained at the protests. Among the dead is a thirteen-year old boy who was shot and killed.

Demonstrators in Venezuela have been met with tear gas. (Photo Courtesy of NBC News)

Venezuelan officials have confirmed the death of Miguel Colmenares, 36, who was shot during a protest in the city of Barquisimeto. Mr. Colmenares is the fifth person to die that week. The public prosecutor’s office has announced it will investigate his death. At the same protest in Barquisimeto, thirty-two-year-old protester, Gruseny Calderon, was killed when he was injured by rubber bullets that pierced his lung and liver. Additionally, two college students were shot and killed. One was killed on April 6th and the other on April 11th. Lastly, the thirteen-year-old boy that was killed, was identified as Brayan Principal—he was shot in the abdomen.

In addition to the deaths, Jose Manuel Olivares, an opposition legislator, stated that “police fired tear gas ‘point-blank’ at demonstrators in the state of Vargas.” Olivares continued his statement, “If they think they will scare us that way they are wrong. We will stay in the street!” Because of the use of tear gas, many protesters have prepared themselves with goggles, rags, and gas masks.

Thousands of opposition protesters have poured into the streets of Venezuela. As a result, dozens of protesters have been injured and over 100 have been arrested this past week. The opposition has planned all of the protests with the aim of diluting the power of government security forces. Although most of the protests have occurred in middle class neighborhoods, slums that have historically supported former president Hugo Chavez have held and joined the protests.

Venezuela is currently undergoing a food and medicine shortage, as well as, an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

For more information, please see:

Al Jazeera—Fifth Person Dies in Protests Against Nicolas Maduro—14 April 2017.

NBC News—Venezuela: 5 Dead as Anti-Government Protests Intensify—14 April 2017.

BBC—Venezuela Protests: Teenage Protester in Barquisimeto killed—13 April 2017.

Telesur—What Everybody Needs to Know About Venezuela Protest Deaths—13 April 2017.

Author: Cintia Garcia