10/06/2014

Two strange murders in Caracas

Update: The Nuevo Herald from Miami reports Serra was murdered by his homosexual lover, who also served as his bodyguard. The Nuevo Herald article  (in Spanish) is here

 http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article9529172.html

The ordinal post starts here:

Venezuela´s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, and his mentors in Havana went ballistic after the murder of Robert Serra and his girlfriend on Wednesday, October 1st. Serra, a member of the National Assembly (which today is a rubber stamp body) was a lawyer with top notch red credentials.

What really got to Maduro was the way they got to Serra and emptied his safe even though he had been provided with several bodyguards. To Maduro´s horror the  guy was found in his armoured house in La Pastora, a low rent district in Caracas, together with his “secretary” (which is also reported to have been his lover). Both had been stabbed numerous times, and wrapped like mummies in masking tape.

The dead guy, Robert Serra,  mouthing off

Speaking at Serra´s burial service, Maduro said the murder´s  “intellectual authors” were outside Venezuela, mentioned Colombian ex-President  Alvaro Uribe, and said the “murderers will be captured” (1) . 

As we know by now, ex Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is now a mental vegetable, but the regime continues to use him as a prop.  From Havana an official source said the old geezer was outraged, felt the CIA was involved, because the murder just couldn´t be an accident.

So what´s the big deal about a couple of murders in a country where 20 thousand are murdered a year? 




Serra was 27, had been elected to the National Assembly in 2010, was a lawyer, and had led some pro Chávez youth organizations. The law degree and his sharp tongue  made him one of the few pro government types with credentials to show he wasn´t an idiot.

A hard core communist, and evidently a key ally of the Havana mafia led by Raul Castro, Serra had his dark sides. One was his arrogance and big mouth. Another was his links with the “collectives” or colectivos, armed gangs which were key players in the repression wave which suffocated the protest movement (2). A third one was his religion: Sierra appears to have been a santeria(3) practitioner.

Sierra´s house in La Pastora, Caracas

Serra lived in an armoured two story home and had numerous body guards. The home had six closed circuit cameras he monitored from inside, all the windows were covered with steel bars, and neighbours reported he never opened the door unless visitors stood in front of the cameras and he could make sure nobody else was coming.

The murders took place in pretty weird circumstances. Just prior to the murder on Wednesday, Serra had several people over, including his brother. Later that day he ordered all the bodyguards to leave. This is where things get confusing and  pretty weird. A neighbor reports that six men, two dressed like Santeria babalaos (priests) showed up at his door, and he let them in. The next thing we know there were a couple of trucks in front of the house. Then somebody saw two large motorcycles. And then somebody heard a woman screaming.

The bodyguards rushed back to the house and they found the dead girlfriend´s sister crying with terror. Robert was upstairs, stabbed 32 times, his eyes gouged out, and wrapped in tape. The murdered girl was downstairs, also stabbed and wrapped in tape. 

Serra had a large safe, in which he kept confidential documents, tapes, DVD´s, hard drives, and money. The safe had been emptied out. Whoever did it also took automatic rifles  and handguns Sierra kept in his home. A rumour has spread he also kept other weapons, but that´s not confirmed.

Cuba, Santeria, Chavez and his followers were 
tightly knit in what Chavez´ and Maduro´s 
opponents claim is a devil worshipping religion 

So what do I make out of this? I think Serra was killed by gangsters, people he knew. He invited them in for a Santeria rite, they drank rum, and as per a previous plan they took down Serra, probably tortured him to make him open the safe, killed him and the girl, wrapped the corpses in masking tape, and took off with Serra´s eyeballs, the weapons, a bunch of documents,  and money. The documents, the DVD´s, the hard drives, and whatever else was in Sierra´s safe was the target. These documents would be worth a lot to the right players. 

The eyeballs are probably going to be used in a santeria rite at a later date (on the other hand maybe they did the eye gouging and the corpse wrapping  to terrorize Maduro and his followers). 

And this is why Maduro went ballistic and started mouthing off against Uribe and the Colombians, and why the Cubans rolled out the veggie Fidel quote about the CIA being behind it. Venezuela is a very dark brooding scene, with over 20 thousand murders a year, a government which tortures and keeps inhumane jails. So this is just another little story about what goes on in Venezuela. The difference is that this time the dead are chavistas.

Update: On October 7th a confrontation between a colectivo and the Crime Investigation Police (CIPC) left four dead and five wounded. One of the dead was the leader of a colectivo conglomerate which apparently had an operational base in the building shown below:

Colectivo "Shielf of the Revolution" headquarters, 
where the gun battle took place

The photo shown below  was taken from a Youtube video showing Jose Miguel  Odreman,  leader of the "13 de Marzo" colectivo, protesting the police action against colectivo members holed up inside the building. Odreman was killed by the police soon thereafter.

Colectivo leader Odreman issuing a warming to the
 Interior Minister,  soon thereafter he was shot by the police

The rumor mill reports the Serra murders were carried out by two of his bodyguards with the cooperation of four colectivo members (two of which were santeria babalaos or voodoo priests). This was denied by the Interior Ministry.

An even later update: At least one of the bodyguards confessed the murders were caused by a personal conflict with Serra. The guys who entered the house were gangsters who worked in cahoots with the bodyguard.

Other reports say one of Odreman´s colectivo aquaintances was shot by the police at the same time Odreman was shot, apparently because he was saying he was happy Serra had been killed. This guy is reported to have had a personal grudge with Serra because he had involved his grandson (a minor) in Santeria rites. 

Footnotes:

(1) Uribe reacted to Maduro´s statement with a Tweet saying he would file a complaint against Maduro for making false accusations.

(2)  The protests were covered in my post

(3) Santeria is a religious cult originally practiced in Cuba by African slaves. The cult involves the replacement of Catholic Saints by African deities in what amounts to a voodoo cult. Santeria believers think they can communicate with the dead. The cult can be practiced to wish harm on enemies. It also involves animal sacrifice.  Hugo Chavez, the dead Venezuelan autocrat was a Santeria follower.  Several years ago he had Simon Bolivar´s skeleton taken out of its grave on a date and time which according to Santeria tradition would bring enormous powers to the person carrying out the desecration. The word on the street is that Bolivar´s spirit avenged Hugo´s abuse of his bones and gave him a horrible and eventually fatal cancer. 

For more information see "Behind exhumation of Simon Bolivar is Hugo Chavez's warped obsession", a Washington Post description of Bolivar´s exhumation and the weird goings on at the ceremony they mounted after midnight on that day. 


BBC coverage of the murders is here 


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