A new report on the death of a prominent Venezuelan congressman suggests his murder may have been a crime of passion, painting a very different picture of the politician than the one portrayed by Venezuela's ruling party, which has attempted to make him a political martyr.
According to police documents obtained by El Nuevo Herald and anonymous sources close to the case, Congressman Robert Serra was murdered by his lover and former bodyguard Edwin Torres Camacho. Torres wanted to end his relationship with Serra, but feared the congressman would kill him, reported El Nuevo Herald.
Serra had reportedly threatened Torres, saying he would meet the same fate as another former lover and bodyguard, Alexis Barreto, who Serra allegedly had killed after Barreto tried to end their relationship.
According to El Nuevo Herald, Torres contacted a group of criminals and told them Serra had high-caliber weapons and cash in his apartment. The criminals then entered Serra's apartment on the night of October 1 and left with several suitcases. Serra's body was later discovered with 36 stab wounds investigators believe may have been inflicted with an ice pick or similar object.
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The information published by El Nuevo Herald stands in stark contrast to the official version of events. President Nicolas Maduro's administration has blamed Serra's murder on Colombian right-wing paramilitary groups, and one member of congress called the killing "an operational war tactic."
The explanation proffered by El Nuevo Herald may prove inconvenient for Maduro, who has tried to politicize Serra's death to bolster support for his administration. Serra was considered a rising star in the ruling socialist party, and the country declared three days of mourning following his death. One government minister referred to the congressman as "an example for youth because of his dedication and revolutionary passion."
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Serra also reportedly had close ties to the country's leftist militant groups, known as collectives, some of which have been accused of perpetrating violence and criminal activity. Additionally, Serra was allegedly close to the leaders of several different collectives, including Jose Odreman, the head of a network of collectives known as the 5th of March, who was also killed in October of last year.