A Venezuela beauty queen was fatally shot on Wednesday, the fifth person killed during massive unrest in the South American nation.
The killing topped off three consecutive weeks of protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Imprisoned protest leader Leopoldo Lopez urged supporters to keep up the pressure on the socialist government, leading to Wednesday’s clashes.
“Today more than ever, our cause has to be the exit of this government,” Lopez said in a pre-recorded video that was to be released if he was captured. “Let’s fight. I will be doing so.”
The latest victim was model and local beauty queen Genesis Carmona, 22, who was shot in the head in the central city of Valencia.
Relatives said the Venezuela beauty queen was in college and on semester away from graduating. She was studying tourism and won the 2013 Miss Tourism competition in her state.
“How long are we going to live like this? How long do we have to tolerate this pressure, with them killing us?” a relative, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
Genesis Carmona joins three others who were shot dead in Caracas after a protest one week ago, and a fourth person who was run over by a car and killed during a demonstration in the city of Carupano.
Amid the protests, the Venezuelan government is ramping up its own rhetoric against the opposition.
“We cannot underestimate those fascist groups whose boss is behind bars,” Maduro said in a nationally televised speech late on Wednesday. “I’m not playing with democracy. I do not accept that they challenge the Venezuelan people and our Constitution.”
Genesis Carmona is not the first Venezuela beauty queen to meet an untimely end. The former Miss Venezuela, Monica Spear, was murdered along with her ex-husband in a roadside slaying earlier this year.
At the time, President Maduro promised to respond to the murder of the Venezuela beauty queen with an “iron fist against all those who want to keep slaughtering our people.”