On Wednesday night PSUV National Assembly representative, Robert Serra and his assistant Maria Herrera, were found murdered inside their house in La Pastora, Caracas.
Reactions from government officials were at first cautious: Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres declared that investigations were under way and asked for patience. The president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, and the Mayor of Libertador, Jorge Rodríguez, both asked chavistas to remain calm, trust the authorities, and let the police investigation follow its course.
But other government officials began pointing to “political motives” and blaming the opposition for the crime almost the moment it was made public. The second vice-president of the National Assembly, Blanca Eekhout (@blancaePSUV) tweeted that same night: “Coward and murderer bourgeoisie, today they again spills the blood of young patriots.” In a press conference early Thursday, Eekhout again blamed the “fascists” for the murder: “The fascist murderers that want to sow fear and despair are very wrong. The best antidote for fear is the deep faith, courage, valor, and strength of our people.”
PSUV deputy Eduardo Piñate also hinted at the responsibility of the opposition: “We appreciate the condolences by the opposition, but we also tell them that they are responsible, in one way or another, that things like this are happening in Venezuela, because the sicariato is imported from Colombia, through Gómez Saleh, and all that importation has been made in order to destabilize and demoralize the revolutionary lines.”
The Secretary General of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper (@ernestosamperp), added fuel to the Colombian infiltration theory by tweeting: “The murder of the young deputy Robert Serra in Venezuela is a worrying sign of the infiltration of Colombian paramilitarism.”
A few hours after his first cautions declarations, Minister Rodríguez Torres revealed the first results of a police investigation which he qualified as “based on the principles of maximum experience in criminal investigation.” The results of this investigation, said the Minister, showed that “The death [of Serra] was the product of a macabre assignment. (…) We are in the presence of an intentional homicide, planned and executed with great precision,” he added.
Also on Thursday president Maduro declared that sicarios were behind the murders and that “the investigations are advancing more than we can reveal at this moment. The criminalistics evidence is in line for the identification of the material authors of the crimes. At this time, after talking to the Interior Minister Rodríguez Torres, I can say that we are near hitting hard a band of sicarios.”
But by Friday Maduro decided it was time to directly point the finger at the “intellectual authors” of the crimes, which according to him could include Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe acting with a “criminal band created in Miami and protected by the gringo Empire.”
Maduro also argued that the local “ultra-right” is trying to create and “opinion matrix” linking the murder of Serra to common crime. But that, he explained, “is part of their calculations.” Maduro’s interpretation is that, because government security forces had “detained several persons between Monday and Wednesday who were planning to burn cities such as Valencia and Maracay,” the “fascist minds” had changed theirs plans to the selective killing of government officials. “Fascism decided to kill Robert Serra. This is a terrorist escalation that they have been planning for a long time,” he said.
The president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, also went beyond his first cautionary remarks and on Friday declared that the crime was a message sent to intimidate the chavista people and the revolution. Cabello argued that this was no common crime, but that instead “here [we are facing] fascism acting against the Bolivarian Revolution and the people. (…) We are in the presence of a crime committed by political sicariato. It is a message to frighten our young people so as to keep them off the streets. It is the same historical format used by the right and by Imperialism to make our heroes go into hiding. They did it with Miranda [Venezuelan independence hero].”
Cabello insisted that nothing happens by chance, and as an example he made a reference to the “inoculated cancer” theory about Chávez death: “The fascist right hides everything behind common crimes. But the numbers don’t add up statistically ¿why are all the dead chavista [leaders]? That’s the same thing as all the presidents of Latina America of the left having cancer. That is not [statistically] possible.”
(Image El Universal)