Henrique Capriles

PACIFICAMENTE. El líder opositor venezolano Henrique Capriles participa del denominado “Gran plantón nacional” convocado por la oposición el  lunes 15 de mayo de 2017, en Caracas, Venezuela. Cientos de venezolanos se concentran en varias ciudades del país en una manifestación denominada “Gran plantón nacional”, con la que la oposición ha llamado a protestar pacíficamente contra el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro, contra el “fraude” de la Constituyente y en defensa de la Constitución. (EFE / MIGUEL GUTIÉRREZ)

The mother of all marches: Photos of anti-government protests that stormed Venezuela streets

Two Venezuelan students and a National Guard sergeant were shot dead on Wednesday (19 April) during protests against the unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro, increasing turmoil in the volatile nation amid a devastating economic crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of Caracas and other Venezuelan cities to denounce Maduro, in what has been dubbed as “the mother of all marches” against the embattled socialist leader. Over 400 people were arrested during according to rights group Penal Forum. Tens of thousands of protesters made an unsuccessful attempt to march to downtown Caracas as security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. Dozens had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

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The three deaths mean that eight people have now been killed since the protests in Venezuela began three weeks ago, over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the opposition-controlled Congress of its last remaining powers – a move that was later reversed but not before enraging the opposition and causing a storm of international criticism. The charges that Venezuela is moving toward a full-blown dictatorship come against the backdrop of an ever-deepening economic crisis.

The opposition attributed both deaths to groups known as “colectivos,” armed government supporters who are frequently accused of involvement in confrontations during protests.

Maduro supporters held a counter-demonstration in the capital. Addressing the cheering crowd red-shirted crowd in Caracas, the president declared that a “corrupt and interventionist right-wing” had been defeated. “Today the people stood by Maduro!” the president said, blasting his rivals as “anti-Christs.” “We’ve triumphed again! Here we are, governing, governing, governing with the people!” he added, before breaking into song and dance. The opposition believe that he has morphed into a dictator and accuses his government of using armed civilians to spread violence and fear.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has called for another protest on Thursday (20 April), raising the specter of prolonged disruption in Venezuela. “Same place, same time,” said opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Wednesday night. “If we were millions today, tomorrow we’ll be more.”

Venezuela benefited for years from oil-fueled consumption and many poor citizens rose into the middle class. But the 2014 collapse in oil prices left the government unable to maintain a complex system of subsidies and price controls. Snaking grocery lines are now a common sight and people routinely say they skip meals and cannot find basic medication.

Further spurring outrage was a decision by the national comptroller’s office earlier this month to disqualify opposition politician Capriles from holding office for 15 years, dashing his hopes for the presidency. The elections council, which is sympathetic to the government, has delayed votes for state governors that were supposed to take place last year.

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bbc.com
Venezuela opposition leader denounces 'savage repression' - BBC News
Henrique Capriles says only early general elections can put an end to the current political crisis.

The situation in Venezuela is very serious and we radicals and progressives need must avoid the reactionary romanticization of protests, uprisings, rebels, and the “opposition” as some kind of revolutionary force that will bring freedom to the people of Venezuela. We on the left need to pay very close attention to the ways that corporate and mainstream liberal media is distorting EVERYTHING going on in Venezuela. Case in point: this article. “Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has told the BBC that early general elections are the only way to put an end to the country’s crisis. “How long can Maduro stand denying Venezuelans the right to vote? I don’t think much long,” he added.”

Venezuela has one of the most democratic governments in the world and BBC wants to talk shit about how elections will solve a crisis created by the most UNDEMOCRATIC ECONOMIC SYSTEM, CAPITALISM, which is a system eternally in crisis?! like are you serious right now bruh? these opposition aka capitalist mofos stay salty from losing elections time and time again and stay tryin to overthrow the govt afterwards and they use the media as a way to hype up these lies in order to justify their illegal UNDEMOCRATIC coup de'tat. this the shit people are eating up. savage repression? are we just gonna pretend like the U.S. is not involved in this whole thing? like they’re not funding for the overthrow not only of the Venezuelan govt but also the Cuban govt? Do people honestly have no fucking clue of the history of how the socialist Venezuelan government became DEMOCRATICALLY elected into power?! you’ve got to be fucking kidding me, a simple search on the internet will answer many questions and debunk a million myths coming out of Venezuela. Do not fall for the bullshit.

El Consejo Seguridad ONU debatirá la crisis en Venezuela

Por Corina Pons
CARACAS, 16 mayo (Reuters) - El Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) se reunirá para debatir la crisis en Venezuela, dijeron el martes diplomáticos, en una jornada en que el número de muertos en el marco de las protestas contra el Gobierno del presidente Nicolás Maduro se elevó a 42.
El encuentro se realizará el miércoles, a puertas cerradas. Será la primera vez que el organismo de 15 miembros tocará la situación del país petrolero.
En tanto, el líder opositor Henrique Capriles dijo más tarde que tendrá una reunión el viernes con el Alto Comisionado de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
La cifra de fallecidos en más de un mes de protestas se elevó el martes con la muerte de tres personas que sufrieron heridas de bala en manifestaciones en diferentes partes del país.
La oposición acusa a Maduro de haberse convertido en un dictador que usa su influencia sobre las instituciones del Estado para mantenerse en el poder, mientras el mandatario alega que sus enemigos políticos están agitando las calles y buscando apoyo internacional para derrocarlo.
Aunque la mayoría de las protestas se desarrollan pacíficamente, a menudo las concentraciones escalan en violencia, con disturbios, saqueos y choques entre las fuerzas de la seguridad y los manifestantes.
Diego Arellano, de 31 años, recibió un disparo en el tórax cuando se encontraba en una protesta en la ciudad San Antonio de los Altos, cerca de la capital, al mediodía del martes, informó en un comunicado la fiscalía, que también reportó que otras dos personas fallecieron durante refriegas.
Uno de ellos, Diego Hernández, de 33 años, fue herido de bala en el tórax en una manifestación en el estado Táchira, fronterizo con Colombia. El organismo acusó del hecho a un funcionario de la policía regional, quien está detenido.
Y en la madrugada del martes un joven de 17 años falleció en el occidental estado Barinas, informó la fiscalía, sin mencionar su nombre por ser menor de edad.
El adolescente resultó herido de bala en la cabeza “cuando repentinamente llegó un grupo de personas que efectuó varios disparos” durante una concentración en la noche del lunes.
“Lamentamos profundamente la muerte de venezolanos durante estos hechos y seguimos trabajando para hacer justicia en todos los casos”, dijo la fiscalía en su cuenta de Twitter.
A pesar de las bajas y los cientos de heridos y detenidos, la oposición ha dicho que no cesará las acciones en la calle y convocó a sus huestes a reunirse en una vigilia la noche del miércoles en las principales avenidas del país sudamericano.
El presidente asegura que no cederá ante la solicitud principal de la oposición, que con las últimas manifestaciones que se realizan casi a diario desde finales de marzo, demanda una salida electoral a la crisis política y económica que enfrenta el país petrolero.
El mandatario renovó el martes por séptima vez un decreto de estado de excepción y emergencia económica que desde hace un año le permite gobernar por decreto y sin control del Parlamento, controlado por sus adversarios.
Los cancilleres miembros de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) acordaron el lunes reunirse el 31 de mayo para examinar la crisis de Venezuela, que enfrenta una recesión económica desde hace tres años y que lidia con una escasez crónica de bienes básicos y medicamentos.

10

In Venezuela, Protest Ranks Grow Broader

By WILLIAM NEUMANFEB. Feb. 24, 2014 (The New York Times)

Photos by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times


SAN CRISTÓBAL, Venezuela — As dawn broke, the residents of a quiet neighborhood here readied for battle. Some piled rocks to be used as projectiles. Others built barricades. A pair of teenagers made firebombs as the adults looked on.

These were not your ordinary urban guerrillas. They included a manicurist, a medical supplies saleswoman, a schoolteacher, a businessman and a hardware store worker.

As the National Guard roared around the corner on motorcycles and in an armored riot vehicle, the people in this tightly knit middle-class neighborhood, who on any other Monday morning would have been heading to work or taking their children to school, rushed into the street, hurling rocks and shouting obscenities. The guardsmen responded with tear gas and shotgun fire, leaving a man bleeding in a doorway.

“We’re normal people, but we’re all affected by what’s happening,” said Carlos Alviarez, 39, who seemed vaguely bewildered to find himself in the middle of the street where the whiff of tear gas lingered. “Look. I’ve got a rock in my hand and I’m the distributor for Adidas eyewear in Venezuela.”

The biggest protests since the death of the longtime leader Hugo Chávez nearly a year ago are sweeping Venezuela, rapidly expanding from the student protests that began this month on a campus in this western city into a much broader array of people across the country. On Monday, residents in Caracas, the capital, and other Venezuelan cities piled furniture, tree limbs, chain-link fence, sewer grates and washing machines to block roads in a coordinated action against the government.

Behind the outpouring is more than the litany of problems that have long bedeviled Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest oil reserves but also one of the highest inflation rates. Adding to the perennial frustrations over violent crime and chronic shortages of basic goods like milk and toilet paper, the outrage is being fueled by President Nicolás Maduro’s aggressive response to public dissent, including deploying hundreds of soldiers here and sending fighter jets to make low, threatening passes over the city.

On Monday, the state governor, who belongs to Mr. Maduro’s party, broke ranks and challenged the president’s tactics, defending the right of students to protest and criticizing the flyovers, a rare dissent from within the government.

Polarization is a touchstone of Venezuelan politics, which was bitterly divided during the 14-year presidency of Mr. Chávez, Mr. Maduro’s mentor. But while Mr. Chávez would excoriate and punish opponents, he had keen political instincts and often seemed to know when to back off just enough to keep things from boiling over.

Now Mr. Maduro, his chosen successor, who is less charismatic and is struggling to contend with a deeply troubled economy, has taken a hard line on expressions of discontent, squeezing the news media, arresting a prominent opposition politician and sending the National Guard into residential areas to quash the protests.

Two people were killed on Monday, including a man here in San Cristóbal who, according to his family, fell from a roof after guardsmen shot tear gas at him. There is disagreement on whether all the deaths nationwide cited by the government are directly associated with the protests, but the death toll is probably at least a dozen.

In the neighborhood of Barrio Sucre, residents said they were outraged last week when a guardsman fired a shotgun at a woman and her adult son, sending both to the hospital with serious wounds. In response, the residents built barricades to keep the guardsmen out. On Monday, after guardsmen made an early sortie into the neighborhood, firing tear gas and buckshot at people’s homes, the inflamed and sometimes terrified residents prepared to drive them back.

Across town, Isbeth Zambrano, 39, a mother of two, still fumed about the time two days earlier when the National Guard drove onto the street, where children were playing, and fired tear gas at residents. Now she sat in front of her apartment building, casually guarding a beer crate full of firebombs.

“We want this government to go away,” she said. “We want freedom, no more crime, we want medicine.” Around her neck, like a scarf, she wore a diaper printed with small teddy bears. It was soaked in vinegar, to ward off the effects of tear gas, in case of another attack.

Unlike the protests in neighboring Brazil last year, when the government tried to defuse anger by promising to fix ailing services and make changes to the political system, Mr. Maduro says the protesters are fascists conducting a coup against his government. He has largely refused to acknowledge their complaints, focusing instead on violence linked to the unrest. Here in Táchira State, he says the protests are infiltrated by right-wing Colombian paramilitary groups, and he has threatened to arrest the mayor of San Cristóbal.

Mr. Maduro’s stance is mirrored by the intensity among the protesters. While he has called for a national conference on Wednesday and some opposition politicians have urged dialogue, a majority of protesters here, most of them longtime government opponents, rejected that option.

“They’ve been mocking us for 15 years, sacking the country,” said Ramón Arellano, 54, a government worker, while a burning refrigerator in the street behind him blotted out the sky with a cone of black smoke. “A dialogue from one side while the other turns a deaf ear, that’s not fair.”

Like most of the protesters here, Mr. Arellano said he wanted a change of government. Protesters say that could be achieved by having Mr. Maduro resign, or be removed through a recall election or changes to the Constitution.

Mr. Maduro says he will not leave office, and he continues to have wide support among those loyal to Mr. Chávez’s legacy.

Táchira State, and especially San Cristóbal, the state capital, are longtime opposition strongholds. The opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, received 73 percent of the vote in San Cristóbal when he ran against Mr. Maduro last April.

A city of 260,000, San Cristóbal was almost completely shut down on Monday. Residents had set up dozens of barricades all around town. In many areas, residents set out nails or drove pieces of rebar into the pavement, leaving them partly exposed, to puncture tires.

In Barrio Sucre, Escarlet Pedraza, 19, showed two motorcycles that she said had been crushed by National Guard troops, who drove armored vehicles over them. She recorded the event on her cellphone camera.

Later, residents burned tires and threw rocks at guardsmen, who advanced and entered a side street, firing tear gas and shotguns directly at the houses.

The guardsmen broke open a garage door in one house and smashed the windshield of a car inside. The house next door filled with tear gas and the family inside, including two young children, choked in the fumes. “I’m indignant,” said Victoria Pérez, the mother, weeping. “This is getting out of hand. It’s arrogance, it’s a desire for power.”

A student, his face covered with a cloth, kicked angrily at a house where a pro-government family lives, shouting at them to join the protest. Other residents rushed in to stop him.

Nearby, a neighbor, Teresa Contreras, 53, flipped through the channels on her television, showing that there was no coverage of the violence, a sign, she said, of the government control over the news media.

Earlier, Andrea Altuve, 38, a teacher, watched the preparations for the coming battle, with people adding to barricades and children pouring gasoline into beer bottles for makeshift bombs.

“It looks like a civil war,” she said. “They are sending the National Guard into the neighborhoods out of fear.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 25, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: In Venezuela, Protest Ranks Grow Broader.

© 2014 The New York Times Company

Oposición de Venezuela convoca a una semana más de protestas

CARACAS (AP) — La oposición de Venezuela convocó a una semana más de protestas contra el gobierno. Anunció que no asistirán a la reunión del lunes a la que fueron invitados por el gobierno en el marco del proceso activado por el presidente Nicolás Maduro para redactar una nueva constitución.

La coalición opositora de la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) “y la mayoría de los venezolanos, más del 80% que quiere cambio, no vamos a ir a (el palacio de gobierno de) Miraflores”, dijo el domingo el excandidato presidencial opositor Henrique Capriles en una rueda de prensa.

“No vamos a una reunión en aire acondicionado, a ser parte de un proceso que es fraudulento”, aseveró el líder opositor en nombre de la Alianza que rechaza la iniciativa de Maduro de redactar una nueva carta magna que reemplazará a la de 1999 que impulsó el entonces presidente Hugo Chávez, ya fallecido.

En medio de la creciente violencia que en las últimas semanas han dejado más de una treintena de muertos, la coalición opositora convocó este semana a nuevas jornadas de protestas contra el gobierno y el proceso constituyente, al que considera un “fraude constitucional” y un “golpe de Estado” de parte de Maduro.

En lugar de acudir al palacio presidencial, la oposición llamó a una movilización el lunes hacia la sede del Ministerio de Educación. Su titular, el ministro Elías Jaua, encabeza la comisión presidencial para la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, la cual sostiene desde el viernes reuniones en el palacio de gobierno para avanzar en el proceso.

“Vamos a ir al despacho del señor Jaua, acompañado del pueblo, a recordarle” que en Venezuela “hay una Constitución que hay que respetar”.

“Si el gobierno cree que puede derogarla por vía de fuerza está equivocado”, acotó Capriles, quien acusó a Maduro de utilizar el proceso constituyente para evitar los comicios ya pendientes desde el año pasado así como la elección de alcaldes prevista para este año, en medio de una marcada caída en la popularidad del mandatario y sus aliados políticos.

Capriles reiteró además que la oposición seguirá en las calles hasta lograr que se convoquen elecciones generales, se abra un canal humanitario para el ingreso de alimentos y medicinas, se libere a los presos políticos y se desarme a supuestos seguidores del gobierno armados, conocidos como “colectivos”.

Al defender la iniciativa, sin dar detalles sobre esos cambios, Maduro ha dicho que con la nueva constitución se buscará ampliar el sistema judicial, promover nuevas formas de "democracia participativa” y garantizar la defensa de la soberanía e integridad de la nación.

El mandatario ha adelantado que la Asamblea Constituyente estaría integrada por 500 miembros, de los cuales la mitad serán elegidos por los gremios de trabajadores y las comunidades, muchas de ellas con fuerte influencia gubernamental, y el resto en estructuras territoriales que no precisó.

La Constitución actual no define claramente cómo se deben elegir los miembros de la Asamblea Constituyente, pero los críticos del gobierno advierten que lo más probable es que Maduro designe a gente que le sea fiel.

“El mundo tiene que saber y los venezolanos que estos personajes, que no quieren someterse el escrutinio popular, se inventaron un proceso que no está en la Constitución, porque elecciones sectoriales no existen en la Constitución”, enfatizó Capriles. “Eso no es una constituyente”.

La iniciativa de Maduro también ha sido cuestionada por el secretario general de la OEA, Luis Almagro, y los gobiernos de Argentina, Brasil, Chile y Estados Unidos.

Thousands March in Silence for Those Killed During Caracas Protests

An opposition-led protest marched to the headquarters of the Venezuelan Roman Catholic diocese in Caracas on Saturday, April 22, calling for an end to the deaths of protests during weeks of unrest.

At least 22 people have been reported killed in violence during the protests this month against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Saturday’s march was held in silence. Anti-government protests resurged in Venezuela after the Supreme Court decided in March to strip power from the opposition-controlled National Assembly. That decision was reversed three days later. In a separate move, Venezuela’s comptroller banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years, fuelling additional outrage in the country. Credit: Twitter/Lilian Tintori via Storyful

Venezuelans Demand an End to Deaths of Protesters

An opposition-led protest marched to the headquarters of the Venezuelan Roman Catholic diocese in Caracas on Saturday, April 22, calling for an end to the deaths of protests during weeks of unrest.

At least 22 people have been reported killed in violence during the protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Saturday’s march was held in silence. Anti-government protests resurged in Venezuela after the Supreme Court decided in March to strip power from the opposition-controlled National Assembly. That decision was reversed three days later. In a separate move, Venezuela’s comptroller banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years, fuelling additional outrage in the country. Credit: Twitter/hasleriglesias via Storyful

Protesters Sing as Smoke Fills Caracas Streets

Protesters in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela, sang and threw tear gas canisters back at police as they faced a cloud of smoke and gas on April 20.

Demonstrations resumed on Thursday following large-scale protests the previous day in which at least three people were killed, according to reports.

Anti-government protests surged in Venezuela after the Supreme Court decided to strip power from the opposition-controlled National Assembly in March. That decision was reversed three days later. In a separate move, Venezuela’s comptroller banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years, fueling additional outrage in the country. Opposition politicians claim that President Nicholas Maduro engaging in a coup and deliberately stalling elections. Credit: Juan Andres Mejia via Storyful

Demos fill Venezuela streets in tense test of strength

© AFP Juan Barreto

Caracas (AFP) - Demonstrators crowded the streets Thursday in a test of strength between Venezuela’s government and opponents seeking a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro, raising fears of violence.

Thousands of protesters dressed in white marched in the east of the capital, waving signs reading “Change now” in what the opposition dubbed “The Taking of Caracas.”

A rival pro-government rally was also planned in the center of the city.

The rallies come at a volatile time for Venezuela, stricken by shortages of food and medicine, violent crime and outbreaks of looting in the once-rich major oil exporter.

“This demonstration will mark a change of direction for Venezuela,” said one opposition protester, Jose Castillo, 32, an oil worker.

“Today we will show that the referendum must take place this year because the people are crying out for it.”

Hundreds of soldiers and police in armored cars were deployed.

Opposition leaders were hoping to bring hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demand quick action on a recall vote that Maduro has vehemently resisted.

“All of Venezuela is mobilizing for the right to vote,” said Jesus Torrealba, the head of the main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

He called it “the most important political mobilization of our recent history” and vowed marchers would defy the government’s “strategy of fear, blackmail and intimidation.”

- Government warning -

The pro-government “Chavistas” – named after Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez – staged rallies on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They called on their supporters to “defend the revolution” with a massive turnout Thursday at what they call “The Taking of Venezuela.”

“Don’t provoke us because not only are we going to block up Caracas so that no one can enter, but we will also make sure that no one can leave,” said former National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello.

Maduro has accused the opposition of planning a “coup” and threatened to imprison opposition leaders if violence breaks out at Thursday’s protests.

“Squeal, cry or scream, jail is where they’ll go,” he said.

The president said Wednesday he would ask the Supreme Court to consider a request to lift immunity from prosecution granted to public officials, starting with the country’s lawmakers.

The move would allow him to target opposition legislators who control the National Assembly.

- ‘Recall hunger’ -

The referendum’s timing lies at the heart of the battle.

If it takes place before January 10 and Maduro loses, new elections must be held. If he loses in a recall after that date, he would simply turn over power to his hand-picked vice president.

The polling firm Venebarometro says 64 percent of the electorate would vote against Maduro.

Maduro blames the crisis on the collapse of oil prices and an “economic war” by businesses.

But he faces deep public discontent over shortages of basic goods and an inflation rate projected to hit 720 percent this year.

In 2014, the government crushed weeks-long anti-government protests in a confrontation that left 43 dead and prominent opposition leaders in prison.

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who distanced himself from the protests in 2014, told AFP that this time the opposition is banking on mass mobilizations and international pressure to get the government to accept the recall election.

- 'Imperialist plot’ -

Maduro has lashed out at the protest as a plot by the “fascist right” that “comes directly from North American imperialism.”

Capriles meanwhile urged people not to be intimidated, estimating that a million people would heed the call to march.

The authorities arrested two opposition leaders in the days ahead of the march. They sent back to prison a former mayor, Daniel Ceballos, who had been under house arrest following the 2014 protests.

They also barred three journalists planning to cover the march from entering Venezuela after they landed at Caracas airport, one of them, John Otis of NPR, said on Twitter.

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