CARACAS, Venezuela, An opposition leader in Venezuela was shot to death, part of a renewal of political violence days before a national election.
Luis Diaz of the opposition Democratic Action party was shot by at least two menWednesday as he stood campaigning on a stage in the rural town of Altagracia de Orituco, Democratic Unity, an alliance of parties opposing the ruling Socialist party, said in a statement.
“This is senseless hate. I don’t have a doubt the government crated this scenario,” Lilian Tintori said Thursday. “There was a burst of 10 shots and he fell on the floor covered in blood.” Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, was a witness to the shooting.
The Venezuelan government announced Thursday it had opened an investigationinto the Diaz shooting. No one has been arrested thus far.
Polls indicate support for Socialist party candidates as the Dec. 6 election approaches, and opposition candidates have reported an increase in attacks by what they say are armed supporters of the government of President Nicolas Maduro. At least seven attacks have occurred in the past week, Henry Ramos Allup, leader of the Democratic Action party, said.
The Democratic unity coalition said Henrique Capriles, who lost the 2013 vote for the presidency to Maduro, has been among the victims of violence during the current campaign.
Maduro said last week his party would win the election “at any cost.”
Venezuela has been beset by political violence since the 2013 death of PresidentHugo Chavez. At least 43 people were killed in 2014 during protests against the country’s rise in crime, shortages in stores and triple-digit inflation.
By Ed Adamczyk