HomeNewsBriefWhat Is Behind Murder of Venezuela Politician?
BRIEF

What Is Behind Murder of Venezuela Politician?

VENEZUELA / 3 OCT 2014 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

After a young star of Venezuela's ruling socialist party was murdered in his home, the government has sought to blame the opposition and portray the victim as a political martyr. However, this narrative is drawn into question by his reported ties to the murky world of Caracas' militant collectives. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Serra -- one of the youngest members of Venezuela's Congress -- was a fervent supporter of former President Hugo Chavez and a well-known leader within the socialist party, the PSUV. On October 1, he was found dead in his home alongside a political aide (who may have been his partner), Maria Herrera.

As Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional reported, a group of six men entered the home that evening, two of them wearing religious-type clothing. There were no signs of forced entry, so it is possible that Herrera allowed them to come inside. She was killed first, receiving six stab wounds, followed by Serra, who received up to 40 stab wounds by an unidentified weapon. 

The Minister of Justice and the Interior, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, said that "common crime" had nothing to do with the murders, and that it was a carefully planned act. This assertion was echoed in statements by President Nicolas Maduro. Congress declared three days of mourning, as the country's attorney general promised to find those behind the killings.

Politicians from the PSUV party were quick to paint the murders as politically motivated. Speaker of Congress Diosdado Cabello blamed "the fascist right" for killing Serra and Herrera. Another member of Congress accused the opposition, stating, "this was an operational war tactic that was absolutely planned." 

InSight Crime Analysis 

Based on what has been reported around the murders so far, there are indications that Herrera may have known the assassins, if she indeed allowed them to enter Serra's home. Another question is why two of Serra's bodyguards -- provided by the Bolivarian National Guard -- were not assigned to work with him that day.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

El Nuevo Herald offered one possible theory for Serra's murder, reporting that he had ties to the various militant political collectives that operate in Caracas. These collectives were originally formed as self-defense groups in city neighborhoods with a poor police presence, and have been known to fight among one another in the past. Serra's death could be a good opportunity for authorities to shine a light into this murky world of the collectives, and attempt to determine whether his relationship with them had anything to do with his murder. 

Given Serra's status as a young star of the PSUV, it's also possible that his murder was ordered by political rivals who thought that he gained too much power too quickly. The fact that Serra was killed so brutally has likely shaken much of the PSUV's political elite, and may yet drive the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into what happened. Given how politicized Serra's murder has already become, the real test for Venezuela's justice system is whether there will truly be an impartial investigation. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 17 MAY 2013

Binational kidnapping gangs made up of Colombians and Venezuelans are spreading from the border states into central Venezuela, fuelling a…

ELN / 11 APR 2019

Venezuela has positioned 17 military bases along its border with Colombia in an effort to address what security officials describe…

CARTEL DE LOS SOLES / 6 MAR 2020

For the first time, the International Narcotics Control Board has recognized the growing influence of the "Cartel of the Suns,"…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…