An opposition party candidate in the forthcoming municipal elections in Venezuela has been shot and killed. Concerns about violence in the context of the elections remain.
José Chirinos, councillor candidate for the municipality of Baralt, Zulia state in eastern Venezuela, was shot and killed on 26 November by two men on a motorbike as he left a local radio station after giving an interview. In his radio interview, José Chirinos spoke about his electoral pledges with opposition alliance Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD). The exact circumstances of his death are yet to be determined but the Attorney General’s Office announced that an investigation will be opened.
Elections are planned for 8 December across hundreds of municipalities in Venezuela and risk of further violent attacks remains. Before, during and after the recent presidential elections of April 2013, Amnesty International received reports of killings and scores of people injured, as well as attacks and threats against media workers, human rights defenders, political activists and people who participated in political rallies.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Supporting the announcement that an investigation into the killing of José Chirinos will be opened and calling on the authorities to ensure that the investigation will be prompt and impartial and bring those responsible to justice;
- Calling on the authorities to send a clear message that violence will not be tolerated;
- Urging them to ensure that all people can freely exercise their right to freedom of expression and association without fear of reprisals.