On May 4, 2017, Juan Bautista Lopez Manjarrez, a student organizer, was killed by a gunman following a student assembly at the Territorial Polytechnic University José Antonio Anzoátegui, in El Tigre. Three others were injured in the attack.
The day before the assembly, Mr. Lopez, the leader of the Federation of University Centers and a member of the country’s socialist party, had reportedly expressed public support for a plan by President Nicolas Maduro to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. After the student assembly ended, an individual reportedly arrived at the location, fired several shots, and fled on the back of a motorcycle. Mr. Lopez died from his wounds. Three others were also injured: Daniel Jesus Brito and Marietzi Suarez, who were both shot in the tibia, and César Armando Guzmán Jiménez, who suffered a gunshot to the head and was in critical condition as of this report.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence on campus, including the apparently targeted killing of a higher education activist. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.