Venezuela condemns killing of teenage protester
Updated: 2015-02-25 11:21
A boy with blood on his chest kneels in front of police after 14-year-old student Kluiver Roa died during a protest in San Cristobal February 24, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
CARACAS -- The Venezuelan government on Tuesday condemned the fatal shooting of a teenager during an anti-government protest and pledged to prosecute the police officer responsible for the incident.
High-school student Kluibert Roa Nunez, 14, was shot in the head earlier in the day in the western city of San Cristobal, Tachira State, in violent clashes between protesters and security forces near the home of the state governor.
Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said the federal government will prosecute the officer, Javier Mora, who said he shot the student with rubber bullets, the Venezuelan News Agency reported.
"We regret the incident (and) the full weight of the law will be applied against those responsible," said Melendez, adding "there's no room for impunity here."
Tensions have been high since the government arrested opposition mayor Antonio Ledezma a few days ago for his alleged role in plotting a coup to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.
Melendez called for calm in Tachira and the entire nation, saying the country didn't want a repeat of the violence that rocked the nation for four months at the beginning of 2014.
San Cristobal, known as Venezuela's city of protest, was the center of last year's massive street demonstrations that resulted in 43 deaths.
Also Tuesday, the Brazilian government called for dialogue between Venezuela's political factions, under the auspices of the Union of South American Nations.
In a message to both the ruling and opposition parties, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said it was "greatly concerned" by recent government measures, "which directly affect political parties and democratically elected representatives, as well as by initiatives aimed at cutting short the president's mandate."