God bless Neomar Lander (17)! He was killed yesterday by the brutal repression if the Venezuelan National Guards! Venezuela Libre! Justicia! pic.twitter.com/5628cpqTIM
— Alfredo Arocha (@alfredoarocha) June 8, 2017
Seventeen-year-old Neomar Lander is the latest person killed in the violent political protests that have plagued Venezuela for the last several months. The death toll, which has risen to 66 since April, has continued to increase as protesters have taken to the streets to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, which many refer to as a dictatorship.
There are conflicting reports from both sides on how Lander died.
— El Nacional (@ElNacionalWeb) June 8, 2017
Protesters claim that Lander died when he was hit by a tear gas canister. Graphic footage of Lander receiving first aid, which made its way to Twitter, shows the wounded teenager lying on the ground with a horrific wound to his upper right chest area.
Officials from Maduro’s government refuted the protesters’ version of events.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 8, 2017
Authorities have the teenager died from injuries sustained when a homemade mortar exploded in his hands. The extremely graphic footage posted to Twitter shows neither of Lander’s hands with any injury as serious as the one in his chest.
Disagreements between both sides continue to add to the political tensions brewing in Venezuela.
— Aroguden (@Aroguden) June 7, 2017
No matter how Lander sustained his injuries, the reality is that the unrest between protesters and the government continues to increase, leading to senseless deaths. President Maduro blames the protests on right-wing extremists. During a televised speech, Maduro told his supporters, “This is criminal terrorism, and we must reject it.”
On the other side, protesters are staying focused on their mission. As Time reported, Miguel Pizarro, an anti-Maduro lawmaker, said, “We mustn’t let fear intimidate us, let’s stay in the streets to fight for all Venezuelans’ future.” He also added, “Soon we will able to say these were the last, dark days of the dictatorship.”