Designer Carolina Herrera laments murder of nephew in Venezuela

Fashion designer Carolina Herrera arrives for the National Portrait Gallery’s presentation of the inaugural American Portrait Gala in Washington November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela-born fashion designer Carolina Herrera on Saturday lamented the killing of her nephew in the crisis-torn country, in what authorities called an apparent kidnapping.

State prosecutors said the bodies of businessmen Reinaldo Herrera, 34, and Fabrizio Mendoza, 31, were found late on Thursday in a vehicle abandoned along the highway connecting Caracas to the Caribbean coast.

“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 the Instagram account of her fashion label.

Venezuela, which has been rocked by anti-government protests for the past six weeks, has long ranked among the world’s most violent countries.

Opposition leaders accuse the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro of delaying elections to avoid losing power amid an economic crisis marked by triple-digit inflation and chronic food shortages. They also accuse Maduro of running roughshod over the National Assembly, where the opposition won a majority in 2015.

Maduro says his country is the victim of an “economic war” waged by opposition businessmen with the support of Washington.

“The Electoral Results must be respected. The Communist Dictatorship must go,” Herrera, who lives in New York, wrote in her Instagram post.

Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Tom Brown