David José Vallenilla, 22, as he was shot during protests. (Photo credit: Twitter/The Gap)
CARACAS, Venezuela, Monday June 26, 2017 – A man who claims to be President Nicolas Maduro’s former boss, and whose son was killed during an opposition protest in Caracas, has made a personal plea to the Venezuelan leader.
David Vallenilla’s 22-year-old son, also named David, was shot dead by military police on Thursday.
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Vallenilla says he once worked with Maduro on Caracas’ transport system, and called on his “former colleague” to clear his son’s name.
“I want to speak to my former colleague of the Caracas Metro,” Mr Vallenilla told reporters outside the morgue.
“Nicolás Maduro, you know that we worked together, I’m Supervisor Vallenilla.”
Maduro is a former bus driver, who became involved in trade unions and national politics. He became president in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.
“Please, Nicolás, my friend,” Mr Vallenilla said with tears streaming down his face, before calling on the leader to make it clear that his only son “was not a criminal, he was a graduating student”.
DEAD: David José Vallenilla
BBC News reports that earlier in the week, Fabián Urbina, 17, was also shot and killed as security forces and demonstrators clashed in Caracas.
There have been almost daily anti-government protests in Venezuela for over two months as the country’s economic and political crisis has worsened and the socialist country descends deeper into chaos.
More than 70 people have been killed in protest-related violence since the end of March, according to figures released by the chief prosecutor’s office.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol tweeted to confirm the death of a protester and said a police sergeant had fired an “unauthorized weapon.”
Maduro, in a press conference on the same day, said: “I am giving the clear order that you can not use firearms. I am giving the clear order that you can never shoot in a demonstration, under any conditions.”
A group of demonstrators returned on Friday to the place where Mr Vallenilla was killed, and set fire to several trucks.
The protests continued over the weekend.
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