Violence is once again on the rise across Venezuela prior to the country’s long awaited December 6 elections. The catalyst for increased outbursts has been the death of opposition leader Luis Manuel Díaz on Wednesday night.
Díaz was allegedly shot done by a group of armed men from the country’s ruling Socialist party (PSUV). President Nicolás Maduro termed allegations “false and reckless” in response.
This is the fifth violent attack in recent weeks, with the first attack reported by opposition candidate Miguel Pizarro who was chased down by armed men on motorbikes while walking in Caracas on Sunday afternoon.
Two days previous, Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed candidate Leopoldo López, used social media to report how she was refused entry to the city of San Carlos, due to her ties to the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) party, El Tiempo reports.
“A failed dictatorship”
“They want to kill me. I’ve made a statement, I’ve made a statement on various occasions. Why should we have to wait for a member of the Democratic Action party to be shot dead with 10 bullets before we make a statement? Why are they (Maduro’s government) attacking Henrique Capriles (another opposition leader)? Why are they attacking me, when I am spreading a message of pardon. This is happening because we are in a failed dictatorship,” Tintori commented.
But threats and violence continue to rise as electoral fever increases, as Henry Ramos Allup Secretary General for Democratic Action tweeted that seven attacks had been made against members of the party during the past week.
Van siete atentados en los últimos 5 días contra candidatos y actos de la oposición. Es la ejecución de la misión “Como sea”.
— Henry Ramos Allup (@hramosallup) November 26, 2015
Certainly for Maduro supporters, creating a state of fear seems to be proving an effective tactic at keeping opposition members quiet, but this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the international community and human rights organizations.
Luis Almagro, Secretary of the OAS responded to Díaz’s murder commenting “the murder of a political member is a mortal wound for democracy.”
“This event isn’t an isolated case, but it is a followup to other attacks committed against opposition political leaders as part of a strategy to intimidate the opposition.”
With just over a week to go, more bloodshed looks increasingly likely as Venezuela waits with baited breath to see if change will be voted in.