Young man dies at anti-gov’t protest in Caracas, NGO says

People demonstrate against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, 23 January 2019. EFE-EPA/Miguel Gutierrez

People demonstrate against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, 23 January 2019. EFE-EPA/Miguel Gutierrez


A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed at one of the anti-government protests in Caracas, the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) reported Wednesday

“We condemn the murder of young Alixon Pizani (16) after being wounded with a firearm during a demonstration in Catia, Caracas” on Tuesday evening, said the non-governmental organization on Twitter.

According to the OVCS, in Caracas alone there were 63 demonstrations against the government of Nicolas Maduro at different spots around the city, some of which extended through the night and into Wednesday morning.

So far, authorities have not provided any information about the number of people injured or worse in the protests.

Hundreds of capital residents have turned out to protest on two consecutive nights after the call by the opposition not to recognize the legitimacy of the president, whom they consider to be a “usurper” of power after having been reelected in a vote called fraudulent and the validity of which has not been recognized by numerous countries.

According to local and online media, demonstrations have also been held in the states of Guarico, Bolivar, Merida, Tachira, Sucre, Anzoategui, Carabobo, Aragua, Miranda and Vargas, the latter two near Caracas.

Pizani’s is the first death confirmed by an NGO since the start of the demonstrations, information about which has been mainly circulated via the social networks, where numerous photographs and videos of the confrontations have been posted.

Meanwhile, the head of the Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, on Wednesday urged the Attorney General’s Office to “take measures ... immediately” in the face of the “criminal conduct” of the opposition-controlled Parliament in issuing the call for the public to turn out for the anti-government protests.

“This chamber exhorts the Public Ministry to determine the responsibilities that the members of the National Assembly may have” in convening the protests, Mendoza said in a statement read to reporters.

On Tuesday, the Parliament unilaterally assumed the duties of the executive branch, the legitimacy of which it does not recognize, and designated Gustavo Tarre Briceño as the country’s “special” ambassador to the Organization of American States.

The head of the legislative chamber, Juan Guaido, said that by taking on those duties, Parliament is seeking to “guarantee that Venezuela remains within” the OAS, a reference to the process launched by the Maduro administration to withdraw from the regional body.

The Supreme Court, however, noted that the Venezuelan Constitution exclusively reserves for the elected president the responsibility to appoint ambassadors and the heads of diplomatic missions and thus it has deemed Parliament’s actions to be “unconstitutional.”