Opposition protesters in Venezuela attacked the childhood home of former President Hugo Chavez and destroyed five statues commemorating the late leader in a day of increasingly hostile anti-government demonstrations that spilled over into violence and led to the death of at least one person.
Demonstrators set ablaze Monday the house in the western Venezuelan city of Barinas where Chavez, a native of the neighboring town of Sabaneta, spent his teenage years.
Anti-government protesters, who have been in the streets for more than 50 days of protests aimed at forcing the government of President Nicolas Maduro out of office, also set fire to public buildings, including the National Electoral Council, lawmaker Pedro Luis Castillo reported. Five statues commemorating Chavez and the headquarters of the Regional Housing Institute were also vandalized. There were also reports of looting in parts of the city.
Amid the hostile protests, 19-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed. The Venezuelan Attorney General’s office ordered an investigation into the deaths of two people during the protests and promised to prosecute those responsible for the attacks.
According to Venezuelan authorities, the death brings the total of fatalities to at least 60 since large opposition protests against the Maduro government began in early April.
The opposition called for a strike by health workers in Barinas in the southwestern part of the country, and several main roads in the city were blocked in the morning.
Ernesto Villegas, Minister of Communication and Information, criticized the opposition for attempting to blame the dozens of deaths on the government, arguing that the right-wing leadership “uses the pain of relatives to plant a truth that can not be reversed.”
The government has also condemned a series of violent acts by the opposition, including burning down public transport units, attacks on public and private property and looting, and has called for a “Great March for Peace, Life and Coexistence” in Caracas.