EspañolAccording to police reports, on Thursday night two armed robbers murdered Conán Quintana, a student leader at the the Liberator Experimental Pedagogical University (UPEL), and his friend in downtown Caracas.
Quintana, the events secretary of Venezuela’s Federation of Student Councils (FCE), was in a SUV with Luis Ángel Álvarez when two men attempted to rob them.
The young men reportedly attempted to escape, but ended up crashing into a building. The robbers then approached the vehicle and shot the pair multiple times.
Álvarez died instantly, while Quintana was moved to a hospital, where he died from his injuries soon after.
They were near Álvarez’s home in the neighborhood of La Candelaria, only a few blocks away from the Ministry of the Interior and Justice. The killing of Quintana and Álvarez represents the second and third murder in under a week in the same district of the Venezuelan capital.
Jesús “Chuo” Torrealba, executive secretary of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), was one of the first people to respond to the murder of the student leader, writing: “After so many protests against insecurity, demanding respect for life, today crime has killed him.”
Quintana had regularly organized protests with students and neighbors against insecurity in the northern area of Caracas in which he lived. Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles also registered his anger at rampant criminality in Venezuela.
Cada 20 min es asesinado 1 vzlano,una guerra y no con otro país,interna!92% impunidad!A esto nos llevaron,juntos tenemos q hacer q cambie!
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) May 15, 2015
“Every 20 minutes a Venezuelan is killed in war, but not with another country. Impunity levels at 92 percent! This is what we have become, and we must change this together!”
Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado meanwhile reported the news “with deep pain,” describing Quintana as “an extraordinary young man.”
Con profundo dolor les informo q acaban d asesinar a un joven extraordinario @ConanQuintana Consejero Universitario UPEL Miranda YA BASTA!!!
— María Corina Machado (@MariaCorinaYA) May 15, 2015
“With deep pain I inform you that they have just murdered an extraordinary young man, @ConanQuintana student councilman at UPEL Miranda. Enough!”
A fellow student activist at the Central University of Venezuela, Sairam Rivas, invited people to join a protest on Friday morning.
— Sairam Rivas (@SairamRivas) May 15, 2015
“Tomorrow #15M we are all going to the Ministry of Interior and Justice at 10 a.m. to denounce the death of student leader @ConanQuintana.”
On Friday morning, activists, students, and concerned citizens met in front of the ministry, but their access to the building was blocked by a large number of riot police.
Venezuela is one of the most unsafe countries in the world, with a rate of 70 homicides for every 100,000 habitants. The country witnessed 25,000 murders last year. According to Mexico’s Citizen Council for Public Safety and Penal Justice, Caracas has the second-highest murder rate in the world, outstripped only by San Pedro Sula, Honduras.