Venezuela death toll rises as Chilean woman shot dead by GNB

March 11, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 11, – A Chilean woman was shot dead while clearing a barricade put up by anti-government protesters in the first foreign fatality from a month of unrest in Venezuela, authorities and state media said on Monday.

hromedia Venezuela death toll rises as Chilean woman shot dead by GNB intl. news2The death of Giselle 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.

“According to preliminary information, in the early hours of Sunday March 9, she was shot while removing rubbish blocking the road next to her house in Merida,” Venezuela’s State Prosecutor’s Office said.

State media said masked demonstrators had shot her, but there was no official confirmation of that.

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 crime and economic shortages.

The barricades have become frequent flashpoints for violence between protesters, security forces and government supporters.

Supporters of both sides, and members of the security forces, have all been among the dead from the South American OPEC member nation’s worst unrest in a decade.

Outgoing Chilean President Sebastian Pinera lamented the latest death. “We’ve asked the Venezuelan government to investigate and give us all the information about the circumstances and cause of this death,” he said.

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.

Numbers are much smaller and the military, which played a crucial role in 2002, appears firmly behind Maduro. Furthermore, opposition leaders are split between militants who back the street action and moderates who believe that tactic risks violence and lacks wider acceptance by 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.

An increasingly confident-looking Maduro told his 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.

Press journalist for HRO media – Norberto luch contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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