On May 29, 2014, Josué Farias, an accounting student at the University Rafael Belloso Chacin, died after being shot in the abdomen during an anti-government student protest near the campus of University Rafael Belloso Chacín campus, in Maracaibo city, Zulia state, Venezuela. Other students who were present at the protest have alleged that regional police were responsible for the shooting. As of this report, however, authorities have not identified a shooter.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparent use of disproportionate force by police against students engaged in the non-violent exercise of protected human rights, including free speech and association. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally. That harm is compounded when such attacks occur on campus, thus undermining institutional autonomy.