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. 

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.

Related Content

POLICE REFORM / 9 SEP 2015

Over 100 Venezuelan security officials have been linked to extortion this year, a reflection of the nation's crumbling state…

VENEZUELA / 10 AUG 2017

Isolated displays of dissidence from within Venezuela's armed forces have fueled speculation of a growing divide between the different ranks…

PRISONS / 22 JUN 2011

As the stand-off in a Venezuela prison continues, the government has pledged to invest in reforming the system.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …