“An immense sadness retains our heart for the physical journey of a great brother of life, Darío Vivas. A revolutionary without any doubt”, declared President Nicolás Maduro.
“He died in combat (…), taking care of the health and life of all of us in this tough battle against the pandemic,” said Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, in the midst of several messages from spokesmen from Nicolás Maduro’s government about the death of Vivas, who had confirmed the positive result for covid-19 to July 19.
“What a sadness, my companion. A hug of grief and pain for the family, friends, companions,” said Diosdado Cabello, number two of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and president of the Constituent Assembly that governs the country, which in practice took over the powers of Parliament, the only power controlled by the opposition in Venezuela.
Several senior government officials have announced in recent weeks that they have tested positive for the new coronavirus, including Cabello himself, as well as Jorge Rodríguez, minister of communication and information, and Tareck El Aissami, minister of oil.
Cabello and El Aissami said they had overcome the disease.
Vivas is the first official close to the Maduro government to die of coronavirus, whose spread is accelerating in Venezuela.
According to official data, questioned by the opposition and by human rights organizations, which consider them undervalued, Venezuela, a country of 30 million inhabitants, accumulated until Wednesday 29,088 confirmed cases and 247 deaths by covid-19.
However, Venezuela surpassed 1,000 new daily cases on Tuesday for the first time and hit the mark again on Wednesday.
The Chavista government has declared a quarantine since mid-March. The confinement alternates periods of “radicalization”, which require the closing of businesses (with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and other businesses considered essential), and periods of “flexibility”, which allow the reactivation of the rest of the sectors.