Photo: Madura and Bodyguards
One of the bodyguards of the Venezuelan president was shot to death while driving along a Caracas highway on Sunday, the Public Ministry announced.
Lt. Marco Cortez, 29, died when unknown gunmen fired at his vehicle from another car.
“According to preliminary information, Cortez was traveling in his vehicle on the Valle-Coche highway ... when presumably they started shooting at him from another automobile,” said the Attorney General’s Office in a communique.
Cortez was taken to the Hospital Militar, “where he was admitted without vital signs,” the official text of the announcement read.
The Caracas daily El Universal said that the bodyguard “was attacked by gunfire by individuals who apparently were trying to steal his vehicle from him” when he left a party early Sunday morning with his wife, who was unhurt in the incident and took him to the hospital.
Cortez had been working for the presidential security detail for six years and was a member of one of the “security rings” surrounding late President Hugo Chavez, the predecessor of Nicolas Maduro, the press version said.
Cortez’s murder comes a week after Eliecer Otaiza, a former director of the Venezuelan intelligence service, was killed - according to Maduro - by people who were formerly in power in the South American nation and are now in Miami.
“I cannot provide further details,” said Maduro last Thursday regarding the former Disip intelligence service director, whose body turned up last Saturday along another highway in the capital with four fatal bullet wounds.
Disip was revamped into the Sebin intelligence service.
Venezuela is one of the countries hit hardest by crime and violence, with 11,000 murders last year, according to government figures, although non-governmental organizations place the number at about 25,000.