One year after, families mourn victims of the San Felix massacre

Seven people got killed in a gun attack that also left three wounded, including an injured one-year-old boy, whose mother died in the event. The attack took place a year ago, at a bus stop in San Felix, municipality of Caroni, Bolivar, and left a painful scar on the memory of the relatives.

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The gun attack was at a bus stop in San Felix. Photo by Carlos Suniaga

By Carlos Suniaga.

On July 21, 2019, Lismar Diaz, a 27-year-old computer engineer, got murdered in a gunfire attack while standing at a bus stop with her husband and one-year-old son. No warning or threats heard before the event.

She was not the only victim. According to the police report, the gunman got out of a car and shot everyone on the street that day in the San Felix bus station, a city located in Bolívar state, southern Venezuela. Seven people got killed, and three others got injured that tragic day, including a child, the Lismar son.


A year after that event, family members not only await justice but remember and mourn their loved ones. A relative of the murdered mother said that every time she walks around that bus stop, the tragic episode comes to her mind.

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“My memories of that place got overshadowed, now, I only remember that she got massacred there, and other people who are also, like us, lost their children, cousins, nephews,” said Lismar relative, who asked to protect her name.

The family of Lismar says that when the shooting started, she hugged her little boy and did not let go until it was over. She got multiple shots in her legs, the back, and the abdomen. His son got a bullet in one leg. “She didn’t want to let go of her little boy, she was protecting him, just when she realized that it was all over, she let go,” said the relative.

Lismar died at the Clinica Humana in San Felix due to the extensive wounds. “Being a mother was something she always dreamed of,” said her relative. Their family said she was a noble person, a good mother, wife, daughter, and sister. That day she took her boy out to celebrate the Children’s day.

“We will never get over this because losing a loved one is hard, but losing them that way is too hard. Sometimes I’ve been in the house, and I think she’s still going to come out of her room, but I know I have to accept it, she’s gone,” he says.

More victims and the author

The victims of the San Félix massacre were four men and three women: Miguel Angel Astudillo (32), Nelson Jose Chacon (20), Francis Rivas (54), Santa Malave Pumiaca (44), Lismar del Carmen Diaz (27), Regulo Pastor Decena (81) and Yenifer Vallenilla (17). According to the report from the investigation police, one of the murdered, Francis Rivas, had a police record for drug offenses and robbery.

The Investigation Police said Eleomar Jose Vargas, alias Zacarias, leader of a gang operating in the mining area of El Callao, was behind the massacre.

According to the police version, Zacarias argued with a member of another gang who was at that bus stop, and so, he carried out the attack.

The weapon used by the gunman, according to the official report, was an assault rifle, a weapon exclusive to the Venezuelan armed forces.

Meanwhile, from July 2019 to mid-2020, police forces have killed or arrested several members of the group that led ‘Zacarias’ along with Jhon Valdez, alias Toto.

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