Also see: "Venezuela: Government Legislator Robert Serra Killed": "Venezuela’s Justice Minister, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, has announced that Robert Serra, a legislator from the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV) had been found dead in his apartment in the capital Caracas along with his partner, María Herrera. Serra, a 27-year-old criminal lawyer, was the youngest member of the National Assembly. A prominent lawmaker with close ties to President Nicolás Maduro, he was widely known as a pro-Chávez youth leader, and also for his strong statements in the assembly. He was elected in 2010. In a press conference this afternoon, Rodríguez Torres confirmed that the murders were 'intricately planned' and that they were not a result of a regular criminal act, such as a robbery, but seemed to be pre-meditated assassinations. Both were killed using “long stabbing objects”, although further details have not been given. ..."
BY EWAN ROBERTSON
The minister of interior affairs, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, informed state television VTV last night that an investigation had been launched into the murders.
Serra was a rising figure within Chavismo, and had been a prominent student leader in the PSUV. Originally from the western city of Maracaibo, the law graduate and criminologist also spearheaded initiatives to tackle violent crime in Venezuela. He was elected to the AN for the PSUV in 2010.
Tributes to Serra from members of the government and PSUV came pouring in upon the news of his murder. President Nicolas Maduro first reacted to the news on Twitter, writing,
National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello told VTV that he felt “immense pain” at the “horrendous crime” and loss of “one of the PSUV’s new, best generation”.
Former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles recognised Serra’s death on Twitter, however attempted to tie the killing to high crime rates in Venezuela, for which the opposition blames the government.
Several commentators from within Chavismo argued that Serra’s murder was part of an alleged strategy of targeted assassinations and an “economic war” to undermine the Bolivarian government.
Writing on popular pro-government community forum Aporrea, political science professor Jesus Silva wrote of the event,
Robert Serra’s murder joins the list of other assassinations of government figures. In April, PSUV local councilor and former intelligence chief Eliecer Otaiza was murdered in Caracas. Serra’s bodyguard, detective Alexis Barreto, was also assassinated two years ago. Alleged assassination plots and attempts have also been reported against top government officials. Last October, then price control enforcer Eduardo Saman survived a suspicious armed assault that he said was an assassination attempt.
The cases recall the car bomb assassination of state lawyer Danilo Anderson in 2004, who at the time was responsible for prosecuting several anti-government figures suspected of participating in the 2002 coup against the administration of Hugo Chavez.
A wake for Robert Serra and Maria Herrera is being held today.