Venezuela landslide kills at least 39 people, over 50 missing
The latest mass-casualty event in Venezuela — where two major events rocked the country within 24 hours, killing over 300 — may never be known thanks to the collapse of the country’s internet.
By some estimates, at least 39 people were killed and over 50 more were missing in the twin-pronged attack on January 11 in the capital, Caracas.
Venezuela was reeling from the impact of two massive social protests in early January. The deaths were reportedly a result of clashes between oppositionists and police, in what President Nicolas Maduro called yet another “massacre.”
On the other side of the country, President Hugo Chavez blamed the unrest on US imperialism and the United States.
In a speech to the nation, Chavez decried the “massacre” and announced it was “a crime against humanity.” The protests were also condemned by the US State Department, which called on Chavez to “meet serious challenges” and to “act with political firmness” to combat the unrest.
The mass killings in Venezuela marked the first time since 1989 that a single incident in one day has killed more people than the country has seen in total. They also mark the deadliest attack by opposition forces that Chavez has acknowledged.
In a statement Saturday, the Venezuelan government said it had evidence that some 40 people had been killed that day. However, the government failed to provide a definitive total and later conceded that at least 39 people were killed, while 53 were injured.
The opposition’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega, claimed that at least 20 of the victims were opposition members of the National Assembly of Venezuela.
Ortega also insisted that more than 50 people were “illegally” detained.
Maduro said in a televised address the next day that the incident “is a nightmare that has to end today