Ricardo Durán, a well-known Venezuelan newscaster and spokesman for the government of the capital of Caracas, was killed late Tuesday in what authorities are speculating might have been an attempted robbery.
The attorney general’s office said Durán, 40, was outside his home in the neighborhood of Caricuao at about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday when he was stopped by three men who attempted to steal his automobile. Durán resisted and was shot dead at the scene, the government said.
Durán had been a longtime anchor on government-run Venezolana de Television (VTV) before taking a series of jobs in the public sector. An award-winning journalist, Durán had also worked as head of communications at the National Assembly.
Even as the case is being investigated, President Nicolás Maduro and others suggested something more sinister was afoot.
“While we work for peace…there are those who continue to plot war against the country from the darkness of fascism,” Maduro wrote in a series of tweets, calling Durán a “brother in arms” who was “committed to the revolution.”
Jorge Rodríguez, the mayor of Libertador Municipality, went further, saying he was sure it had been a “contract killing.”
The gunmen did not steal the car or any of Durán’s valuables, fueling the speculation.
Venezuela is one of the most violent countries in the world. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, the murder rate was 90 per 100,000 people in 2015 — surpassing places like Honduras and El Salvador. The government, however, says it has a homicide rate of 39 per 100,000 inhabitants.