Venezuela: Revisiting the Right-Wing Assassination Campaign “The Exit”

Three years ago, barbed wire beheaded motorcyclist in subversive plan “The Exit”

On February 22, 2014, ten days had gone by since the beginning of the subversive plan “The Exit,” led by opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. During that period, the Exit –as the coup plot was called– already included seven murders. One of the victims was thrown down by a barbed wire.

His name was Elvis Duran, he was just 29 years old. On the night of February 22, the day after his birthday, he would return home by motorcycle, after a full day of work as he did every day to support his six-year-old daughter.

It all happened on Romulo Gallegos Avenue in Caracas Metropolitan Area, a few kilometers from his home.

It was not an accident. Duran’s assassination was part of the “The Exit” plan, intended to spread terror among people, cause commotion through a widespread wave of violence across the country, hold the government accountable and thus overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, elected by the majority eleven months earlier.

The strategy, which began in the middle-class municipalities ruled by the opposition, consisted in putting barbed wires at night on public roads to kill people off guard who were passing through those deadly roads. Motorcyclists who went out daily to work were the main victims. Only with this terrorist method, Lopez’s plan the Exit left eight civilians killed: Elvis Duran was the first.

The Exit lasted until June of that year and served as scenario for the extreme right to commit crimes of vandalism, fascist actions and murders. The crimes included not only placing barbed wires to kill motorcyclists, but also shooting at those attempting to free the blocked roads. A total of 43 Venezuelans were killed and more than 800 wounded.

All these facts have been silenced or misrepresented by some media and political actors, and even by some international human rights organizations that aim to present those responsible for planning and carrying out the violence as the “victims” of these events.

Members of the right trivialized the death of Duran and others deceased in the coup plot. In January 2016, then-President of Parliament Henry Ramos Allup minimized the drama of the families of the guarimbas (violent riots) fatalities and defended the release of Lopez as promoter of the coup plot. Lopez is serving a sentence in Ramo Verde jail for the crimes of public incitement, property damage, arson and conspiracy.

Politicians of right-wing parties have never publicly apologized for the killings caused by their violent plan. On the contrary, contempt for the people continued to prevail in them. Not in vain, Ramos Allup referred to Elvis Duran as “the dead guy of barbed wire.”

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