A Venezuelan opposition leader was shot dead during an election rally, political leaders said Thursday, raising tensions ahead of a legislative vote that could weaken the major oil producer's socialist government. An attacker shot Luis Manuel Diaz on Wednesday evening at an event also attended by Lilian Tintori, the wife of a jailed opposition leader and a high-profile critic of President Nicolas Maduro, the official said. "As the rally with Lilian finished, we heard shooting... We saw Luis fall to the ground bleeding," a regional leader of the Justice First opposition party, Abrahan Fernandez, told AFP.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday the shooting death of an opposition leader appeared to be a gangland score-settling, dismissing claims it was politically motivated ahead of key elections. Authorities were investigating the killing of Luis Manuel Diaz and "the interior ministry has evidence that suggests it was a contract killing to settle a score between rival gangs," Maduro said in a speech to supporters. An attacker shot Diaz dead on Wednesday evening in the central Guarico region at a campaign rally for the December 6 legislative elections, party officials said.