Photo: Orlando Espinoza and Lisbeth Parra
Two Venezuelan state legislators missing since last weekend were found dead inside a car at the bottom of a ravine after an apparent accident, the Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday.
Orlando Espinoza and Lisbeth Parra likely ran off the road and crashed Sunday night while driving back to the central state of Aragua after an excursion to Caracas, the AG’s office said.
The Aragua lawmakers had traveled to the capital to appear on a television news program where they raised concerns about the Venezuelan electoral system ahead of the Oct. 7 general elections.
They were first reported missing by officials of their party, the opposition Accion Democratica, who suggested the pair had been kidnapped.
The leader of the AD bloc in the National Assembly, Edgar Zambrano, told Efe that any abduction would have been the work of common criminals, as neither Espinoza nor Parra was an “emblematic” figure of the kind to inspire a politically motivated attack.
Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami went on Twitter to criticize AD officials for manipulating “this regrettable event” by publicly speculating on the fate of the missing lawmakers.
Surging crime has become a major issue in the election campaign as leftist President Hugo Chavez, in power since 1999, seeks another six-year term.