Beauty queen slain in protest by “colectivos” mourned in Venezuela

February 21, 2014 | By | Reply More

Feb 21, Caracas – Family members and friends of 22-year-old Genesis Carmona say the former Miss Tourism 2013 for the central Venezuelan state of Carabobo was shot down by members of the armed militias known as “colectivos” who opened fire on a demonstration in Valencia on Tuesday.

hromedia Beauty queen slain in protest by colectivos mourned in Venezuela intl. news2The government says the incident is under investigation but has suggested she may have been shot by an opposition protester, a suggestion that drew scorn at the private Mass and graveside memorial attended by several hundred people.

“She wanted to support her country and, well, look what it cost her for going out with a flag and a whistle. Killed by government mercenaries,” said Jose Gil, an uncle of Carmona.

People at the service who were also at the rally said they saw a group of up to 50 men on motorcycles, armed with handguns fire directly into the crowd of about 3,000 demonstrators, setting off a panicked stampede through the street.

“We were protesting peacefully and this was like a war,” said Emilio Morillo, an 18-year-old university student.

Kendry Gill, 22-year-old law student also at the rally, said nine people were shot, including a young woman who remains hospitalized in critical condition with a perforated lung.

“It was practically an ambush,” Gill said. “We’re peaceful. We don’t have any weapons.”

Carmona, who was in her final year earning a marketing degree at a university in Valencia, was not ardently political, friends and family said. Her uncle said she was drawn to the rally by the dismal economic conditions that the oil-rich country has experienced after 15 years of socialism-inspired policies and that her mother had gone with her to protect her.

“There’s no food, no milk, no baby food … It is horrible what is happening in this country,” Gil said. “That’s why she was out at the protest.”

Carmona is one of at least eight people who have been killed during political protests roiling this South American country since massive opposition rallies on Feb. 12 ended with three deaths in the capital, including one government supporter. With even Maduro lamenting the tragedy during a speech on national TV, the young woman’s death has resonated in the country in part because she was a pageant winner in a country that has long prized its production of more Miss Universe winners than any other country.

Her death also came amid increasing concern about escalating violence in the country, and has left many on edge as the opposition plans large rallies on Saturday.

The government said Thursday that it would send paratroopers to a border area torn by fierce clashes between police and anti-government protesters even as security forces are being accused of turning many parts of the country into free-fire zones in their bid to silence a rejuvenated movement challenging socialist rule.

The unrest has been particularly high in the western state of Tachira, on Venezuela’s border with Colombia, where anti-government protesters have clashed with police and National Guard units, disrupting life in its capital, San Cristobal.

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres announced Thursday that a battalion of paratroopers was being sent to Tachira to restore calm.

Pres journalist for HRO media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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