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Attack in Venezuelan Home Leaves Expatriate Lawyer Dead
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John Ralston Pate

Summary: An attack at an expat community apartment left an American lawyer dead and his girlfriend wounded in a well-to-do neighborhood of eastern Caracas, Venezuela.

An American expatriate lawyer was stabbed to death and his girlfriend was severely wounded in at attack at their Venezuelan home in Caracas. According to U.N. statistics, Venezuela is the second most violent country in the world with Honduras being number one.


John Ralston Pate, 70, lived in elegant apartment in a once-thriving expat community with his girlfriend Sally Elizabeth Evans, 67. Authorities suspect the attack was a robbery or kidnapping attempt gone badly. Pate had been living in Venezuela since the 1970s and formed a locally-based law firm De Sola Pate & Brown. He moved to the country after studying at Brown and Boston Universities. He was extremely active in the communities schools, industry groups, and other institutions that were essential to the expat community.

His son Thomas Pate, a lawyer in Miami said his father “never wanted to leave. His outlook was Venezuela was a great place and was the land of opportunity.” His family was always nervous for him but he told them he was careful.

The wealthy people of Venezuela live in compounds with security guards and surveillance systems. Poorer communities even have heavy doors with three locks. Everyone knows to stay off the streets once darkness falls. With the rising crime rates, the expat community has declined. Foreign companies had also been leaving the country due to the economic problems.

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Pate understood that the area was dangerous and would caution others. He even considered leaving the country in 2007 and returning to the United States where he was still a member of the Massachusetts bar. He had lost most of his international clients due to restrictions that foreign companies faced in the socialist government.

Ninety percent of murders go unsolved in Venezuela.




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