One dead, two injured, and shops looted: riots in southern Venezuela

Residents of Upata, located in the state of Bolivar, looted shops in the center of the city. There are 33 people arrested, according to information by the National Guard.

Asian-owned businesses were the most affected during the looting. Photo by Upata residents.

One man killed, two wounded, seven stores looted, and 33 people arrested. That’s the result of an intense day of riots and looting in the most important commercial area of Upata, located in the south of Bolivar state, on Thursday, April 23rd.

The information was confirmed by the National Guard in a report on the incident, and the spokesmen for Fedecamaras Bolivar by a phone interview for El Pitazo.

The deceased was a 29-years-old, identified as Charli Antonio Nuñez Palma, shot twice in the head. The circumstances of the death are unclear, but it is known that it was in the midst of riots and looting near the Upata market.

The injured are Kelvin Alfonzo Maurera, 23, who was shot in the neck, -and according to medical sources, his condition is stable- and a 15-year-old boy is the other injured, who was shot in the knee.

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According to the official report of the National Guard, the riots were the result of “people’s indignation at the lack of control over the increase in the prices of food.”

Looted shops

The National Guard reported seven stores affected, including a supermarket, as well as six stores partially affected. However, the president of Fedecamaras Bolivar (the organization that reunites businessmen and entrepreneur), Jose Alfredo Olivo, indicated that four shops were affecting.

“Four Asian businesses were looted, and there were eight attempts to rob other stores,” said Olivo, who sorry for the incident. Days before were attempts to rob several stores but the situation was contained by the security forces.

Upata residents reported that since midday the city was taken over by the National Guard and police forces that guarded businesses to avoid more looting. The team from El Pitazo tried to communicate with the mayor of the municipality, Yulisbeth Garcia, but it was not possible.

In Ciudad Bolivar, the state capital, residents of the El Psiquiatrico sector reported that there was an attempt to loot the area, which is controlled by the National Guard. However, during the morning of this April 23, some businesses remained shuttered for fear that the looting would continue.

Information by Carlos Suniaga and Gladylis Flores.

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