December 19, 2014
Chilean national killed in Venezuela protests
A Chilean woman was shot dead while clearing a barricade put up by anti-government protesters in the first foreign fatality from a month of unrest in Venezuela, authorities and state media said.
The death of Giselle Rubilar, 47, who was studying in the western Venezuelan city of Merida, brought to at least 21 the total number of fatalities in five weeks of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro's government.
"According to preliminary information, in the early hours of Sunday March 9, she was shot while removing rubbish blocking the road next to her house in Merida," Venezuela's State Prosecutor's Office said.
State media said masked demonstrators had shot her, but there was no official confirmation of that.
Students and militant opponents of Maduro have been maintaining street barricades in various cities since last month, demanding the president's resignation and solutions to problems of crime and economic shortages.
The barricades have become frequent flashpoints for violence between protesters, security forces and government supporters.
Supporters of both sides, and members of the security forces, have all been among the dead from the South American OPEC member nation's worst unrest in a decade.
Outgoing Chilean President Sebastian Pinera lamented the latest death. "We've asked the Venezuelan government to investigate and give us all the information about the circumstances and cause of this death," he said.