By now, you’ve probably heard about what’s going on in Venezuela.
Right-wing opposition demonstrators are leading daily protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro and supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution. As of Thursday, five people have tragically been reported dead: Jairo Ortiz, Ricarda Lourdes, Daniel Queliz, Miguel Colmenares and Brayan Principal.
In line with mainstream media, Venezuelan opposition leaders allege that Maduro’s administration is responsible for all of these deaths. Hasler Iglesias, for example, a youth organizer for the right-wing Popular Will party, claims police killed all five people.
“These are assassinations of the dictatorship,” Iglesias posted on Twitter Wednesday.
Opposition lawmaker Alfonso Marquina echoed these allegations, adding that “police are terrorizing our communities.”
There’s no denying that people have died as a result of ongoing protests. What the opposition fails to mention, however, is why and how these people died and who is responsible for their deaths.
Venezuelan police are responsible for two of the five deaths attributed to Maduro’s government by the opposition, Question Digital reports. Two others died from direct and indirect actions by opposition supporters, with the last person dying in the crosshairs of conflict between both sides.
Here’s a quick rundown.
Ortiz was murdered on April 7 in Miranda by transit police officer Rohenluis Leonel Mata. The police officer believed Ortiz was one of many opposition protesters inciting violence against the socialist government.
After carefully investigating the case, however, the Venezuelan government discovered that Ortiz was not involved in any public demonstration or act of violence. Upon proving Ortiz’s innocence, the government immediately detained Mata, who is set to face criminal charges.
Lourdes, an 83-year-old woman, died at her home in Caracas on April 10 from hydrocephalus. When her symptoms began flaring earlier that day, she was unable to be transported to a nearby hospital because opposition protesters blocked all of the neighborhood’s roads, preventing ambulances from picking her up.
Queliz, a 20-year-old opposition protester, also died on April 10 in the Venezuelan state of Carabobo after police reportedly shot him in self-defense. He was among a group of protesters attacking police with rocks and sticks. The police officer connected with his killing was arrested on Wednesday, Question Digital also reports.
Colmenares was killed on April 11 in the department of Lara state while caught in the crosshairs of conflict between opposition protesters and police.
Principal, a 13-year-old resident of the Ali Primera Socialist City, was shot and killed by opposition protesters after they toppled the main gate of the commune. The city was established by the Bolivarian Revolution in 2014 for low-income citizens.
A closer look into these deaths reveal that the nature of these killings is not as clear cut as the right-wing opposition portrays them to be.