Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said seven national guard soldiers incurred injuries during the explosion, five of whom suffered third-degree burns. Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said the bombing was a cold-blooded effort to ambush the national guard soldiers. On his Twitter account, the minister said: “In the afternoon, ultra-right terrorist groups attempted to kill GNB [Bolivarian National Guard] soldiers on motorbike in Altamira. [The soldiers were surprised by] explosion of an artifact hidden in a backpack and placed by a roadblock.” Still according to Reverol, two national guard soldiers suffered gunshot wounds in El Hatillo and Petare as violent demonstrations continued to sprout near the country's capital.
This was the latest in a string of violent demonstrations that have plagued the country since early April, when the opposition called for the ousting of the country's present administration. The anti-government rallies were marred by bombings, public lynchings, and killings, raising the current death toll to 103 during more than 100 days of civil unrest.
José Luis Rivas Aranguren, a candidate for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), was shot 11 times in the face when he was about to address the crowd at a campaign event in Aragua state. The assailant was identified as an audience member who fled the crime scene after the assassination. Two other people were injured in the incident. Rivas was announced by the government on May 1 as a candidate for the transport sector in the ANC in a bid to taper the ongoing efforts against the current administration. Days before Aranguren's murder, ANC supporter and student leader Juan Lopez was shot dead under similar circumstances. (Related: Mainstream media won’t cover the failing socialist nightmare in Venezuela because it exposes the faults of socialism)
The bloody standoff in the Venezuelan capital allegedly stemmed from the opposition militants' failed attempt at lynching a man in the Caracas neighborhood of El Paraiso over the weekend. According to reports, residents had accused the man of being a thief. A video file and images circulated over the web, showing how the man was stripped naked, beaten, and tied to a lamp post with a noose around his neck. The national guards reportedly intervened and stopped the lynching. The neighborhood and its surrounding areas had become a focal point of confrontation between the armed protesters and the national guards.
The recent attempt at lynching was only one of the many violent incidents that plagued the area over the last three months when the anti-government demonstrations began. Just last month, opposition militants have allegedly burned Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera alive during a demonstration in Altamira. Tarek William Saab, Venezuela's national ombudsman, condemned the lynching as a politically motivated act of violence and called on the authorities to take action.
“Whoever puts the noose around the neck, and his accomplices, are potential murderers and should be treated as such by the law. This type of neo-Nazism is advancing with great strides in Venezuela: it is growing on fertile ground in our country, while the justice system, in spite of multiple pieces of evidence, does not stop the barbarism. Tomorrow will be too late,” Saab said.