Venezuela election: Opposition trio die at poll rally

October 1, 2012

BBC News

Three Venezuelan opposition activists have been killed during a campaign rally, a week before presidential elections.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles demanded justice, saying the activists’ deaths should never have happened.

Mr Capriles’ First Justice Party said they were campaigning in Barinas state on Saturday when gunmen shot them.

Witnesses said the gunmen fired from a van belonged to the state oil company, but there was no confirmation of this.

‘Angels in heaven’

The three were named as Jason Valero, Omar Fernandez and Hector Rojas.

“Yesterday, sadly, violence took three lives, something that should never have happened,” Mr Capriles told a rally of tens of thousands of people in Caracas on Sunday.

“I want to tell their families, and those angels in heaven, that we are going to defeat violence on 7 October.”

An initial statement by the First Justice Party on Saturday night reported two deaths.

It said a rally had been planned in Barinas, President Hugo Chavez’s home state, on Saturday but the road was blocked by government supporters.

When Mr Valero and Mr Fernandez left their car to try to gain access, they were fired on by gunmen inside a van, it said.

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