Kluibert Roa Nuñez, a high school student, was killed Tuesday when he got caught between protesters and national police in the western city of San Cristobal. A police officer fatally shot Kluibert, officials say.
The government and the opposition alike have condemned the teen’s killing, but Venezuela’s recent history of violence hangs over this shooting. It raises the question of whether Kluibert’s death will bring an escalation in tensions.
A year ago, San Cristobal was the birthplace of anti-government protests that spread nationwide. The standoffs between security forces and protesters lingered for weeks and became violent, with more than 40 deaths, according to the government.
Three witnesses at Tuesday’s protest said that Kluibert was not a protester and had inadvertently come across the confrontation after leaving school.
The protesters — mostly students from a nearby university — were running from police at the moment that Kluibert walked into the area, according to the witnesses, who spoke with CNN en Español.
The teen tried to protect himself by ducking under a car but suffered a direct shot from an officer’s firearm, the witnesses said.
Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, is overvalued. The official exchange rate is 6.3 per dollar, but dollars are being exchanged in the black market at 190-to-1 creating all kinds of problems for foreign companies, including American ones.
Last week, the mayor of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital and largest city, was arrested and accused of plotting to overthrow Maduro’s government.
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CNN’s Kay Guerrero and Miguel Escalona contributed to this report.