Venezuelan opposition protests again

CARACAS – Venezuelan opposition supporters took to the streets again on Monday to protest a grinding economic crisis and an erosion of democracy under leftist President Nicolas Maduro, in the first sustained wave of anti-government demonstrations in three years.

Venezuelans have been irate for months over shortages of basic goods and roaring inflation that have led to millions skipping meals or surviving on starches.

But demonstrations had ebbed amid protester fatigue, until a Supreme Court decision in late March to assume the functions of the opposition-led congress sparked outcry.

The court quickly overturned the most controversial part of its decision but the move triggered condemnation at home and abroad, as did Friday’s news that the national comptroller had banned politician Henrique Capriles – seen as the opposition’s best hope in a presidential election scheduled for next year – from office for 15 years.

Four nationwide protests in the last 10 days degenerated into clashes between youths throwing stones and security forces spraying crowds with tear gas. On Monday, there were protests in several cities. A few thousand people marched in Caracas but authorities blocked the highway and fired tear gas.

Demonstrators build a fire barricade on a street in Caracas, Venezuela.

“It’s working, the government is scared and making mistakes like banning Capriles, because that generates more support for him,” said homemaker Imelda Guerrero, 66, who said her three children have emigrated due to the crisis.

“But this is will be a long struggle, it’s only just starting,” she added in Caracas.

The opposition is demanding a date for gubernatorial elections, meant to be held last year, and is seeking early presidential elections.

Despite the surge in protests, many Venezuelans are pessimistic that marches can bring about change, scared of violent clashes, or simply too busy trying to find food.

Maduro’s unpopular government accuses the opposition of fomenting violence to lay the ground for a foreign invasion.

Some 188 protesters, most of them students, were arrested in the period April 4-8 and 57 are still behind bars, rights group Penal Forum said on Monday.

Nine people, including two teenagers, were arrested for breaking into an office of the Supreme Court and vandalizing it at the end of Saturday’s march. And a 19-year-old was shot dead in violence around protests on Thursday.

The government has come under increased pressure from American and European countries that have condemned violence in Venezuela and the ban on Capriles.

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who accuses foreign countries of “meddling,” traveled to communist ally Cuba on Sunday for a meeting of the leftist ALBA bloc.

“The lazy one has gone to Cuba on holiday, he would do the country a favor by staying there,” Capriles jabbed at him on Twitter.

Source: (Reuters)

2 Responses to Venezuelan opposition protests again

  1. Kevin Cave
    Kevin Cave April 10, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Take note bim, your time coming.

    Reply
  2. Ivana Cardinale April 12, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Reuters as usual with its FAKE NEWS. Nothing new. A half truth with many lies. This is how the Western media works against Venezuela, under the direction of Washington. Since Chavez came to power, 18 years ago, the media has been doing its job to demonized the Venezuelan government, omitting the truth and saying a bunch of lies. Why you don’t post the news about the “protesters” that got arrested for burning a judiciary building and confesses that all protesters, that all are young people, were recruited by opposition politicians who paid them 300.000 bolivars to come out to the streets of the middle class areas to “protest”, destroying and burning public infrastructure, government buildings and looting private business, one by the way located just in front of my house. So, please, avoid bouncing lies about neighboring countries, like Venezuela, that has been so good to all Caribbean nations.

    Reply

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