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Venezuela beauty queen shot dead during protest

Genesis Carmona became the fifth victim of Venezuela's political unrest on Wednesday.
Posted By Kate Stanton   |   Feb. 20, 2014 at 5:54 PM   |   Comments

VALENCIA, Venezuela, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Five people have died in the political protests sweeping Venezuela at the urging of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has called on supporters demonstrate against President Nicolas Maduro.

Genesis Carmona, the most recent fatality, was a 22-year-old beauty queen, marketing student and Miss Tourism 2013 in her state. Her Twitter account indicated she was a supporter of Lopez, who turned himself in to authorities Tuesday and will likely face charges of murder, arson and terrorism.

Carmona attended a protest in Valencia on Tuesday when she was shot in the head. Photos circulating on social media purport to show her in the arms of an unidentified man being carried away on a bicycle. Carmona was taken to the ICU, but died Wednesday.

Carmona died a month after former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was shot and killed by highway robbers. Her death incited outrage in a country that has one of the world's highest homicide rates.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama called for the release of anti-government protesters, and hit back at some officials' claims that the U.S. was helping the opposition.

"Venezuela, rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people," he said. "So, along with the Organization of American States, we call on the Venezuelan government to release protesters that it's detained, and engage in real dialogue. All parties have an obligation to work together to restrain violence and restore calm."

The Venezuelan government gave three U.S. diplomats 48 hours to leave the country on Wednesday.

[CNN, El Universal, Washington Post]

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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