A young Venezuelan lawmaker close to President Nicolás Maduro was found dead in his Caracas home Wednesday night, though it was not clear whether his apparent killing was politically motivated. Venezuela's justice minister said Robert Serra, 27, and his partner, Maria Herrera, were "vilely murdered" inside their residence in a rough neighborhood of the capital. Serra was a well-known youth leader within the United Socialist (PSUV) party who distinguished himself in 2007 at the head of student rallies in support of now-deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday called for a “re-founding” of the United Nations, during his first speech to the annual General Assembly of world leaders in New York. Maduro also spoke up in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, and criticized U.S.-led efforts to combat terrorism. The Venezuelan leader's comments come amid increased cooperation among Latin American countries, and is seen as a bid to win Venezuela a seat at the U.N. Security Council next year. Venezuela's claim for the seat has reportedly faced hurdles because of the country's questionable human rights record. However, the U.S., which had blocked Venezuela’s quest in 2006, has reportedly said that it will not try to block it this time.
The tremors have been building for years, but on Wednesday night Venezuela was convulsed in a wave of violence as the government of President Nicolas Maduro appeared to enforce a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests. Streets were filled with tear gas and the crackle of gunfire, as National Guard units and National Police came out in force. Bands of regime supporters—paramilitary gangs known as colectivos—swarmed neighborhoods and public squares on their motorcycles, firing live ammunition at anyone who remained in the open. Some stormed into apartment buildings in search of protesters. The crackdown extended from Caracas to Maracaibo, Maracay, Valencia, and nearly every major city across the South American country.
Nicolás Maduro, the handpicked political heir to Hugo Chávez, won election to serve the remainder of Mr. Chávez’s six-year term, officials said late Sunday.
Venezuelan government claims Chavez was poisoned by dark foreign forces
Hugo Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela who cast himself as a "21st century socialist" and foe of the United States, died Tuesday, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
Hugo Chavez is dead -- but he is no hero. Even as his supporters pour into the streets to mourn their fallen idol, the damage he caused to Venezuela is incalculable.