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 / 25 FEB 2022

A veteran FARC dissident commander was killed in a Colombian military assault, leaving a power vacuum in the volatile Colombia-Venezuela…

COLOMBIA / 4 DEC 2020

A number of Latin America’s leading academics, investigative journalists and security experts gathered virtually December 3 to discuss the most…

PRISONS / 13 AUG 2021

Political support from career criminals is usually a matter of skulduggery and campaign finance. But one prison gang in Venezuela…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…