22-year-old Venezuelan burned in protest dies from injuries

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   June 5, 2017 at 10:31 AM
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June 5 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said 22-year-old Orlando José Figuera, who was set on fire last month during a protest, has died from his injuries.

Venezuela's Ministry of People's Power for Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace said 80 percent of Orlando José Figuera's body sustained first- and second-degree burns after he was attacked by "terrorist groups" in Caracas' Altamira neighborhood on May 20.

During a televised address on Sunday, Maduro said Figuera died on Saturday. The embattled leader blamed the political opposition -- to whom he referred as "fascist groups in the right" -- for Figuera's death.

Though there have been some demonstrations in support of Maduro's regime in over two months of protests, most are anti-government demonstrations decrying the country's economic collapse under Maduro's government and what the opposition says is the deterioration of democracy.

"The material authors of the murder of Orlando Figuera must know that we are going to find them and we will do justice," Maduro said. "This crime against Figuera summarizes all the hatred that the Venezuelan people have faced during April and May."

More than 60 people have died over the course of the protests. The Venezuelan government and the opposition disagree on who is responsible for the damage that is destroying homes and businesses, as well as who is doing the killing.

Maduro's regime says the opposition is inciting violent protests, which are supported by pro-capitalist, interventionist international organizations and governments attempting to undermine Venezuela's government, an example being the United States. The regime also accuses "paramilitary" forces, some of which he said hide in Colombia, of attempting to increase insecurity and of launching attacks against security forces.

The Venezuelan opposition accuses Maduro's security forces of violently attacking and repressing peaceful protesters and of supporting "colectivos," or "collectives" -- a term used to describe civilian pro-government groups, some which have taken up arms against the political opposition.

Venezuelans have shared videos on social media of uniformed security forces carrying out acts of what they describe as unwarranted violence and vandalism, as well as videos appearing to show forces either helping or remaining unresponsive to acts of violence by "colectivos."

In late May, Venezuela's Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz said a 20-year-old student who died during a protest was killed by a tear gas canister fired at his chest by security forces.

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