Thursday, October 16, 2014

Contradictions and missing links in the Serra case

Police investigations in the Robert Serra case point to robbery or the revenge of a disgruntled bodyguard, but president Maduro has been insisting on his conspiracy explanation of the crime.

After several announcements by the president that he would present the evidence of the conspiracy, yesterday he showed a video taken by security cameras the night of the crime. Six men can be seen walking into Serra’s residence. Maduro said all have been identified. One of them is Torres Camacho, Serra’s main body guard. Another man named Leive Padilla, alias “El Colombiano”, was identified by Maduro as a “known Colombian paramilitary.”

Maduro then explained that, despite “national and international versions that were prepared before the crime and that seek to undermine the investigations,” this was a “terrorist act” with the aim of destabilizing the country. Next week, he said, he will present to the United States government evidence linking the crime to “terrorist groups” based in Miami.

Maduro also showed a different video suggesting links between Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Lorent Saleh, Carlos Berrizbetia, and Leopoldo López. All of them presented in the video as responsible for the opposition protests early this year, the murder of Robert Serra, and also the murder of chavista leader Eliécer Otaiza.

On this last case Maduro repeated his argument that Otaiza was murdered by the conspirators but that the police has still to find the missing link in the case: “we are searching for the key piece in Otaiza’s case, let’s hope it exists,” he added.

Maduro made several other revelations: unknown to public opinion the president of the National Assembly suffered an assassination attempt on October 4. The Minister of Education Héctor Rodríguez was also the target of an attempt on October 1. Maduro gave no further details or evidence of these claims, but he said they constituted part of a series of “continued coups” defeated by the government. He also assured that the murder of Robert Serra has “awakened that humanist consciousness of all of the Venezuelan people.”

However, also yesterday, National Assembly member and leader of the PSUV Freddy Bernal seemed to contradict Maduro’s version, and his own previous declarations, and stated that the murder of Robert Serra was the result of a “disagreement” with his own bodyguard, who hired a gang of common criminals to plan the assassination.

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