Venezuelan pro-Chavez journalist shot dead outside Caracas home

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Jan. 21, 2016 at 1:48 PM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Ricardo Duran, a prominent Venezuelan pro-government journalist and national award winner, was killed outside of his home in Caracas on Wednesday.

The former anchorman for Venezuela's government-owned TV station was shot dead by unknown assailants near the entrance of his home in the Caricuao district of Caracas. Investigators are treating his death as an assassination.

Duran previously served as director of communication and information for Venezuela's National Assembly and was currently working as the press secretary for Caracas' district government run by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela under President Nicolas Maduro.

Duran gained nationwide recognition when he continued to report news during the 2002 coup d'état attempt against former President Hugo Chavez from within Venezuela's presidential Miraflores Palace. Duran won Venezuela's National Journalism Award in 2009 for his work in radio and was a vocal activist for Chavez's socialist revolution.

"From our brother Ricardo Duran they took absolutely nothing; not his wallet, telephone, his handgun, much less his vehicle," Daniel Aponte, chief of Caracas' district government, told VTV. "I'm shocked, sad, and struck in the heart, in the heart of the revolution. They took a brother, a friend, and even more a loyal man in this revolutionary project."

VTV is supervised by the Venezuelan government's Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information. Maduro described Duran as a "brother in the struggle and a man committed to the revolution."

"Brother, for you and the martyrs we continue to persevere in the independence and the socialist fatherland. Always until victory," Maduro said in a statement.

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