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  • Among the burn victims are innocent bystanders, government supporters and officials.

    Among the burn victims are innocent bystanders, government supporters and officials. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 July 2017

One burn survivor said his attackers accused him of being a Chavista and, ignoring his protests, beat him and threw a Molotov cocktail at him, setting him on fire.

At least 23 people have been burned alive — one of the worst deaths possible — by opposition supporters targeting Afro-Venezuelans and working class people, including innocent bystanders, government supporters and officials, according to Red58.org.

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According to Red58.org, the majority of the burnings were based on either social status or political beliefs, a description which fits the U.N.'s definition of a hate crime: "Hate crime is a form of dehumanizing crime, because whoever commits it deems that its victim lacks human value because of their color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, origin, ethnic origin, civil status, birth, physical or mental disability, social status, religion, age, religious or political beliefs," as described by the U.N. Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

Since April, Red58.org has documented the torrent of right-wing violence that has spread across the nation as opposition leaders and their supporters have taken to the streets in an attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, leaving over 100 people dead and many more injured.

Some 23 deaths have taken place mostly in the capital region of Caracas, which registered 15 of the incidents, while the others took place in different states: three in Lara, two in Zulia, one in Anzoategui, one in Tachira, and a final fatality in Carabobo.

Nineteen of the attacks were orchestrated by the right-wing, while four opposition protesters — whose handmade grenades activated while still in their hands — were set on fire and were added to Red58.org's list of fatalities.

Earlier this month, an innocent bystander became a victim of the onslaught of right-wing violence. While riding on the back of his friend’s motorcycle through Lecheria, Puerto de la Cruz in the state of Anzoategui, Hector Anuel and his friend were stopped at a road blockade and threatened by opposition protesters with being burned alive.

The driver accelerated and Anuel fell off. He was then beaten and burnt to death. Venezuela's Public Ministry announced Tuesday it was investigating his murder.

One burn survivor, Carlos Ramirez told Red58.org his story, explaining he was neither a pro or anti-government supporter. While walking in the Altamira Metro in Caracas, he was intercepted by a group of hooded men.

His attackers accused him of being a Chavista and, ignoring his protests, beat him and threw a Molotov cocktail at him when he broke away and tried to escape. Chacao police, in a stronghold of the opposition, didn’t move to break up the struggle or protect Ramirez.

The opposition protests have only gotten more violent since April, attacking hospitals, nurseries, educational facilities, government offices and burning alive those the opposition deems a threat.

President Nicolas Maduro has consistently called for the cessation of violence and dialogue as a way to resolve the conflict.

However, the right-wing MUD coalition has maintained its belligerent position, calling for an escalation of actions in the coming week in hopes of disrupting the National Constituent Assembly elections slated for Sunday, July 30.


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