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Ex-Venezuela oil minister reportedly dies in state custody

CARACAS, Venezuela — A former top official at Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA says the jailed ex-head of the monopoly has died in state custody.

Nelson Martinez was arrested last year along with several other oil executives in an anti-corruption purge at PDVSA led by socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Martinez also was Venezuela’s oil minister.

Rafael Ramirez was Martinez’s boss before being pushed out himself as head of PDVSA. He told The Associated Press that Martinez had been receiving medical treatment for kidney problems at a military hospital in Caracas. Ramirez says people close to Martinez confirmed he died Wednesday of complications.

There has been no official confirmation of Martinez’s death.

His death comes two months after an imprisoned anti-government councilman died in what the government insists was a suicide.

The Associated Press