Jimmy Guerrero was a 26-year-old independent taxi driver and street vendor, and the father of five children. On March 29, 2003, he was attending the funeral of his uncle Ramón Molina’s child in Punto Fijo, where Jimmy, Ramón and another friend decided to go buy some drinks. As Jimmy exited his car at the store, state police officers intercepted him and shot him several times. Mr. Ramón Molina, the 49-year-old father of six children, tried to assist his nephew, but was also killed. Jimmy Guerrero’s body was later found at a service station more than 500 meters from the location where he was killed. Ramón Molina’s body was found outside of the distributor, next to the car that Jimmy and Ramón had been driving.
In the seven months leading up to his assassination, Jimmy Guerrero had complained at least six times to the Ombudsman’s Office and the Falcón State Prosecutor’s Office about the harassment and threats he received from the Police Armed Forces of the Falcón state and the members of the Body of Scientific, Criminal and Forensic Investigations (CICPC). The Ombudsman’s Office request for protective measures for Guerrero was ignored and the threats against him were never investigated, which ultimately lead to his and his uncle’s death.
Both homicides occurred in the context of extrajudicial executions by police forces in Venezuela, however they were misconstrued as a confrontation between gangs where the authorities hindered the investigation, thereby allowing the offenders to attain almost complete impunity. In the state of Falcón and other parts of Venezuela, police forces have a long history of committing serious human rights violations against vulnerable populations, usually young men with limited economic resources like Jimmy Guerrero.
Currently, the case is in total impunity at the national level in Venezuela as there is no open procedure and the only alleged perpetrator of the crime has been acquitted. At the international level, the case was brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on May 24, 2019 and it is expected that the court will have the chance to hear from the victims at a public hearing in 2020.
Jimmy and Ramón's case is the fourth case that addresses extrajudicial executions and impunity that will be heard by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Unfortunately, this problem still takes the lives of many young people in Venezuela today and there is a lack of clear and detailed official data to demonstrate the magnitude of extrajudicial executions committed by the citizen security force and the impunity in which they remain. Nevertheless, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) voiced serious concern about this issue in her report on the situation of Venezuela, after her visit in July, 2019.