(Mérida 05/05/2020) – Last night, in the midst of a national quarantine that in Mérida includes a prohibition on the movement of people after at 2 p.m., a group of demonstrators that demanded to have electricity they were shot at from the inside of a truck during the second blackout of the day registered in the sector of El Campito, municipality Libertador of the State. Rafael Hernández, of 21 years old, an engineering student at the University of Los Andes, he lost his life after being shot more than six times by unidentified individuals who, according to witnesses, left slowly in the afore mentioned truck without a license plate.
This regrettable and condemnable fact occurs just hours after that Jeyson Guzmán, who was denominated as the protector of Mérida by Nicolás Maduro, accompanied for the chief of the Integral Defense Operative Zone (Zodi-Mérida), Danny Ferrer, he convoked all the Popular Units of Integral Defense (UPDI), Peace Brigades, militiamen, street and of community chiefs and the Bolivar Chávez Battle Units (UBCh) chiefs to defend peace and activate the mechanisms of social intelligence. Likewise, Guzmán indicated that «from this moment on, our units for the defense of the Revolution must be active at their meeting points,» according to quote by the web portal Mazo 4F in news (to see: https://mazo4f.com/en-merida-inteligencia-social-esta-activa-para-prevenir-acciones-desestabilizadoras).
Ornella Gómez, president of the Federation of Student Centers of the ULA (FCU-ULA), blamed «henchmen of the dictatorship» for the murder of Rafael Hernández. The student leader also rejected the incident and demanded an investigation.
The Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA) demands that the murder of Hernandez be solved and the guilty be sentenced. It also rejects the calls made by regional political leaders of the de facto regime, which seek to intimidate the population who are suffering from increasingly acute and constant failures in all basic services.
On May 5, just after at 9 a.m. a commission of the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (CICPC) arrived at the scene, more than 12 hours after the crime was committed. ODH-ULA is concerned that the lapse of time between the murder and the arrival of the CICPC do not guarantee that the evidences preserved or not, they have been altered. This lateness is not justified since the CICPC regional office is only five blocks away from where the events took place. In addition, the legal inspection was carried out after that passers-by and vehicles circulated in the area, which allowed for the contamination of the scene of crime. This was an irregularity that has made it difficult to identify those responsible for the crime and has given rise to impunity.
Sources close to the family said that Rafael Hernández did not have a good relationship with his father for political differences. The young man’s mother died when he was a child.
It has been unjustifiable that peaceful citizen protest against the deficiencies of the services provided by the State should be punishable with the death. ODH-ULA has demanded an objective and transparent investigation of the facts that allow find those responsible for such a regrettable death. Likewise, it has reiterated its demand for an end to the policy of intimidation and the attacks on citizens that have been carried out for years by polices forces, militaries and paramilitaries of the facto regime, as well as the criminal actions committed by extermination groups created by the regime.