The mystery behind the death of Eliecer Otaiza, Venezuelan Ex-intelligence officer

Police have not yet determined why Eliecer Otaiza, known to many as Maj Otaiza, was shot and killed. The ex-intelligence officer was a close ally…
The mystery behind the death of Eliecer Otaiza, Venezuelan Ex-intelligence officer

Venezuelan ex-intelligence chief Eliecer Otaiza killed. (Twitter)

Police have not yet determined why Eliecer Otaiza, known to many as Maj Otaiza, was shot and killed.

The ex-intelligence officer was a close ally of the late President Hugo Chavez and is a strong supporter of current president Nicolas Maduro. Recently, Otaiza was elected president of the Libertador municipality city council.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela’s fight is far from over

Otaiza was found passed away on Saturday, having sustained four bullet wounds. His body was taken to a morgue but was not conclusively identified until Monday. According to BBC, Otaiza was last seen leaving a friend’s house on Friday night.

Unclear Motivation

Two lines of thought have been suggested as to why Otaiza may have been killed.

One involves his car. Though Otaiza was found on the outskirts of Caracas, his car was discovered in another area. Numerous bullet holes in the vehicle have led some to believe that his killing was the random act of a car thief.

Another line of thought centers on Otaiza’s sustained and vocal support for Chávez and the chavista policies that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has retained. Given the country’s current state of chaos, it’s possible that Otaiza’s killing was intentional, though law enforcement has yet to find any evidence to point to either a suspect or a specific motive.

Life in the Public Eye

Otaiza has long been a known and controversial figure in Venezuela.

Born on January 7th, 1965, Otaiza spent almost his entire life working for the government and military. After earning a degree in political science, the late city council president went on to join Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution.”

That led to a brief moment in the spotlight in 1992, when Otaiza joined the attempted coup on November 27th. Opponents of the then-president, Carlos Andres Perez, stormed the Miraflores palace. During the melee, Otaiza was shot four times.

In the following years, Otaiza made his way up in rank to become Chavez’s chief security officer, director of Disip (Venezuela’s special police force), and director of the National Registry of Contractors, according to CNN.

Holding a Torch For Chávez

Much like current Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, Otaiza believed that Hugo Chavez’s legacy and policies should continue indefinitely.

He was outspoken in his support of the late leader, and it’s clear that Chávez thought highly of Otaiza. In the Venezuelan dictator’s memoir, he recounted the time that Eliecer Otaiza attempted to sneak Chávez out of jail after the 1992 coup attempt. Chávez later made Otaiza part of his personal guard, according to BBC.

Otaiza’s recent election to city council president gave him a chance to reiterate his support for Venezuela’s ex-leader.

According to Ultimas Noticias, Otaiza told supporters that the December election was not just any election: instead, it represented a chance to show the anti-government forces—who have criticized Chávez from every angle—that “Chavez lives.”

Investigators are expected to look further into Eliecer Otaiza’s death in the coming days and weeks.

SEE ALSO: What’s next for the ongoing crisis in Venezuela?