A Venezuelan opposition leader was shot to death in public on Wednesday at a campaign rally for the upcoming congressional elections.
Luis Manuel Díaz was a leader of the party Acción Democratica (AD) in the town of Altagracia de Orituco. He was on the stage when he was shot at by a gunman at close range. Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, was also at the event.
Tintori has become well-known across the country since her husband’s arrest. She tweeted today that “The blood of Luis Manuel splashed [her] onstage.”
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro sent his condolences to Diaz’s family, reported the BBC.
“An investigation has been opened and the Interior Ministry has strong indications that it was a clash between rival criminal gangs,” said Maduro.
But the leader of the AD, Henry Ramos Allup, claimed the attack was committed by the government.
This is not the first incident of violence the country has experienced in the lead up to elections next month. Two opposition party members have reported being attacked and confronted by armed men in the past month.
However Maduro urged caution and said to not jump to conclusions, reported the BBC.
The oil-rich nation has elections coming up in less than two weeks and Maduro’s government has a strong coalition opposition to compete against.
“Whatever happens, the Venezuelan people will go to the polls on 6th December, and we will win,” said Ramos Allup in a press conference.