CARACAS – The Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled an appellate ruling that found that the statute of limitations applies in the case of a former defense minister for civilian deaths during the repression of a 1989 uprising known as the “Caracazo.”
The decision opens the door to prosecution of retired Gen. Italo del Valle Alliegro.
On July 2 the Attorney General’s Office asked the Supreme Court to annul a court of appeals’ ruling that the statute of limitations applies in the case against the general.
Del Valle was defense minister when the Caracazo broke out on Feb. 27, 1989, less than a month after the beginning of President Carlos Andres Perez’s second term.
The violent social revolt went on for three days with a wave of looting in Caracas and other cities, and was put down by the bullets of the army and police, leaving between 300 and 3,000 dead, according to different sources.
The Caracazo was sparked by an increase in the price of gasoline, one of the austerity measures decreed by Perez in coordination with the International Monetary Fund to deal with a severe economic crisis.
Also under accusation for the Caracazo are ex-army officers Manuel Heinz Azpurua and Freddy Maya Cardona, and police chief Jose Rafael Leon Orsoni, the AG office said. EFE