Fashion designer Carolina Herrera sends message to Maduro

Venezuelan-American designer mourns nephew killed in Venezuela

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

MIAMI – Fashion designer Carolina Herrera was mourning the death of her 34-year-old nephew on Saturday. 

Reinaldo Jose Herrera turned up dead in a white Toyota Hilux outside of Caracas, according to the public prosecutor’s office statement released on Friday.

The businessman is the son of Luis Felipe Herrera, the Venezuelan-American designer's brother-in-law. He and his associate Fabrizio Mendoza, 31, an architect, were kidnapped after walking out of the Rey David restaurant on Thursday night. 

"Our only hope is that the tragic assassination of our young nephew Reinaldo and his colleague Fabrizio will serve to mitigate the terrible carnage and murders that are committed against our youth in Venezuela," Herrera, 78, wrote on Instagram. 


Hours after they were kidnapped, the two men were killed even though authorities said a ransom of cash and watches was paid. The designer blamed the murders on the political instability that her country is facing. 

The lawmakers in the National Assembly want to end the failed socialist policies as the nation's economy and security continues to crumble. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's efforts to limit the power of the democratically-elected National Assembly and weaken his opposition has been met with nationwide protests. 

"The electoral results must be respected," Herrera wrote. "The communist dictatorship must go."

The daily anti-Maduro marches began in April after the Supreme Court took away power from the National Assembly and later reversed its decision. Maduro's administration and armed pro-militia supporters known as "colectivos" have met protesters with violence.

Students continue to set up barricades and fight back despite the gunshots, tear gas canisters, water cannons, rubber bullets and lethal pellets. Civilian protesters are facing arrest and military tribunals.

Meanwhile, Maduro continues to attribute the protests to a foreign force and not to the socialist policies and corruption that his opposition say are causing the desperate shortages of food and medication. In the oil-rich country is not unusual to see middle-class parents rummaging through garbage to find food. 

Maduro is also in denial about the dangers that Venezuelans face in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world. Andreina Lopez left Venezuela and lives in South Florida. She said she feels Herrera's pain, because her brother was kidnapped and killed. 

"In Venezuela, if you don't die in a kidnapping, you get sick and die because there isn't enough food and the hospitals are a disaster," Lopez said. "Our only option is to run and leave our family behind, but we suffer for them. I have nightmares all the time about them getting hurt."

Maduro's denial cost Antonieta Caporale, the country's health minister, her job this week. After she released health data showing the mortality rate had skyrocketed during the last two years, Vice President Tareck El Aissami announced they were replacing her with Luis Lopez, a pharmacist. 

"I survived a kidnapping, but my brother didn't," Lopez said in tears."Carolina Herrera and other Venezuelans shouldn't be suffering this."

Herrera's father, Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, was a Venezuelan Air Force officer and the former governor of Caracas. Her global company has been based in New York City since 1980.

About the Author: