henrique capriles

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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Clashes in Venezuela ahead of Sunday’s election

Rock-throwing Venezuelans braved tear gas and rainstorms on Friday, blocking streets in protest against a legislative superbody to be elected on Sunday that critics call an attempt by President Nicolas Maduro to create a dictatorship.

The election of a constituent assembly has been broadly condemned by countries around the world as a weakening of democracy in a country whose economy has been crippled by recession despite its vast oil resources.

Opposition demonstrators said urgency was increasing as they set up barricades along main roads in the capital, Caracas, pelted by sheets of rain and teargas canisters fired by police.

“If this election happens on Sunday, we lose everything. We lose Venezuela,” said a 23-year-old-woman who identified herself as a student, face covered against the gas, declining to give her name.

Confrontations with security forces, which have left more than 110 dead over the last four months, were modest on Friday as protesters and police were doused by tropical downpours.

The government banned protests from Friday to Tuesday but opposition figure Henrique Capriles called on followers to block streets again on Saturday and to hold protests along the country’s main roads on Sunday.

Venezuelans have been protesting against Maduro to demand he respect the opposition-led Congress and resolve chronic food and medicine shortages that have fueled malnutrition and health problems. (Reuters)

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An anti-government activist is arrested during clashes in Caracas on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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Anti-government activists clash with riot police during a protest in Caracas on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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A protester shoots a firework from a pipe at the national guard members during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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A wounded protester receives treatment by paramedics during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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A member of the national guard fires his shotgun at protesters during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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Protesters take cover behind home made shields and throw fireworks at the national guard members during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela on July 28, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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A demonstrator is detained at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 27, 2017. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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A man receives help after being injured with rubber bullets at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 27, 2017. (Photo: Marco Bello/Reuters)

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A man plays a violin at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 27, 2017. (Photo: Marco Bello/Reuters)

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An anti-government activist is grabbed by a member of the National Guard during clashes in Caracas on July 27, 2017 on the second day of a 48-hour general strike called by the opposition. (Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

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A man with a Venezuelan flag stands in front of riot security forces while rallying against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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A demonstrator throws a tear gas canister at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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Demonstrators take cover at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

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Riot security forces pass through a roadblock during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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A demonstrator receives help at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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A demonstrator is detained at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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A demonstrator falls down while running away at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

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An opposition demonstrator wearing a mask takes part in an anti-government protest in Caracas, on July 26, 2017. (Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

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Demonstrators clash with riot security forces at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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An injured man receives help at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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Anti-government protesters run from advancing Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard officers on the first day of a 48-hour general strike in protest of government plans to rewrite the constitution, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ariana Cubillos/AP)

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A demonstrator prepares petrol bombs during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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A opposition demonstrator uses a sligshot to clash with police during an anti-government protest in Caracas, on July 26, 2017. (Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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Demonstrators prepare a petrol bomb at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela July 26, 2017. (Photo: Marco Bello/Reuters)

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Demonstrators use a tire on fire to block a street at a rally during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Andres Martinez Casares/Reutes)

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Demonstrators gather at a roadblock during a strike called to protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, July 26, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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Let’s talk about how Maduro got to power. He worked at the subway… Or “worked” because he kept taking days off pretending he was sick. He’d use those days off to go to party meetings where he met Chavez. Maduro became his useful dummy, and as such Chavez made him minister of different things when he got to power and kept being moved around from position to position until….

“I’m going to go for a while. Should anything happen to me, I pick Nicolás Maduro as my successor” said late-stage cancer patient Chavez. And everyone wondered “why Maduro?” because the obvious choice of a successor was Diosdado Cabello. The thing is, Chavez was planning to come back to be president. That’s why he left his dummy, who would have given him his presidency back.

There is historical precedent for it not being the case: in 1909 president Cipriano Castro left office for a short while, because he had a farting penis (I swear I’m not making this up) and he needed to fix it in France. He left his best buddy Juan Vicente Gómez to warm his seat while he was gone… And Gómez was like “sorry buddy, you can never come back to Venezuela” and became a dictator for 27 years. This is what Chavez was trying to avoid when he picked Maduro. Diosdado would have pulled a Gómez.

But Chavez made a little mistake when he left office. He could have gotten a surgery in Venezuela, our medicine lacks resources but makes up for it with wits and internet access, and they would have probably told him not to get such a risky surgery in the first place …but no, he had to get the surgery in Cuba. Cuban medicine is a very good corpse factory, people go to Cuba vertically and come back horizontally. Most people say Chavez became horizontal around December 29th because the man who loved the public suddenly became very private for months. Too private, actually. And yet official records will claim it happened in March 5th. Those were some uncertain months.

And so elections were held that year. Henrique Capriles Radonsky, who had just lost (or “lost” depending on who you ask) an election to Chavez, pulled a Hillary and ran again, as the sole candidate of la MUD, against Maduro, who was perceived by chavistas as Chavez’s spiritual son. They voted for him because they were sold the idea of Maduro being a way to keep Chavez’s legacy alive, his spiritual and political son, the man who saw a wee little bird in the street and claimed it was Chavez’s spirit.

I mentioned Capriles pulling a Hillary. He did a full Hillary, he lost that election with a very short margin, some might even say the numbers were contoured and powdered into looking like Maduro won. And even if you don’t believe the elections were rigged, you must admit the numbers were tight for a “government of the people/everybody loves us and hates right wing” chavismo. That was the moment when they realized they didn’t have the complete majority from days past.

So Maduro goes into power and everything that was bad about Chavez’ government became immediately worse: more scarcity and exacerbated insecurity and more charity programs that were neglected after a few months and more propaganda and more public broadcastings of him talking but with zero of Chavez’s charisma, and so there were protests and protests and protests that he kept crushing or organizing his own pro government “protests ” to compete with them… But right now we’re just protesting everyday and he might act like he can do something, but he can’t. He only has so many soldiers, and his own subordinates are acting on their own. He doesn’t even have the final word on things, he regularly goes to Cuba to get instructions (I’ve gotten dirt, yo). And also his nephews are in prison abroad for drug trafficking.

He is the owner of sad and pathetic existence.


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

Carta de mi prima venezolana (hija de exiliados políticos de la dictadura uruguaya) en la cual nos explica a la familia la grave situación en Venezuela en estos días. Recomiendo su lectura.


Por estos días vi la foto de los presidentes latinoamericanos posando con Raúl Castro en Cuba. Una foto por decir lo menos curiosa, de varios hombres y mujeres que en su mayoría pasaron media vida tratando de convencer a sus conciudadanos de que eran la mejor opción de gobierno en sus países, luchando por sus ideas justas o injustas, ganando con enorme esfuerzo unas elecciones, que sonreían junto al designado heredero de la monarquía cubana. Como siempre que veo una cosa así, me acordé de Yoani Sánchez, me la imaginé en el piso de un carro recibiendo patadas en la cara, aquella vez que se la llevaron por andar escribeindo un blog, y me pregunté si la lluvia de golpes sería tal vez distinta si ella supiera que quien iba a salir mañana a defenderla y a acusar a los esbirros del régimen no era, digamos, la bestia de George Bush. Yo cuando pienso en los cubanos siempre termino diciéndome lo mismo: solos, los dejamos solos.

Eso de la foto fue antes de que empezaran las protestas en Venezuela. Claro que yo no iba a a protestar, no porque no sobren razones, sino porque me parecía que se estaba llamando a tumbar el gobierno. Entonces fue cuando otra vez, otra muchacha de la universidad en el Táchira fue atacada por unos malandros en pleno día, estuvo a punto de convertirse en otra de las decenas de miles de personas asesinadas por año en Venezuela (las cifras son oficiales), y los muchachos dijeron basta. Y salieron, protestaron, se portaron mal, quemaron cauchos, trancaron calles. Agarraron a unos cuantos, y los mandaron, sin proceso alguno, directamente a la cárcel de Coro a mil kilómetros de distancia. En una de esas demostraciones del surrealismo venezolano a las que nos hemos acostumbrado últimamente, los presos hicieron una protesta violenta y dijeron que esos muchachos no podían entrar en la cárcel, aquí solo hay criminales, dijeron, los estudiantes no deben estar aquí.

Así empezó todo, y aquí en Mérida esa misma tarde estaban protestando los estudiantes. Y salió Leopoldo López a llamar a una marcha. Tampoco iba a ir, no me gusta nada Leopoldo López, aunque tengamos enemigos comunes, y pienso que Henrique Capriles tenía mucha razón y mucho valor en llamar a que no se saliera a descargar la frustación sin ton ni son, arriesgando la vida de los estudiantes. Pero resultó que la noche anterior a la marcha salieron con mas fuerza que nunca los llamados “colectivos”. En Mérida se llaman Tupamaros. Todos los conocemos. Tienen motos, andan de a dos. El de atrás lleva el arma. Se cubren la cara. La mayoría viven en unos edificios que antes eran residencias de estudiantes, y donde ahora la policía no entra. Tienen también un “brazo civil”, digamos, que participa en las elecciones. Esa tarde salieron, rompieron las puertas de un edificio donde viven varios amigos míos, entraron con las motos. Disparando. Así en varios edificios donde viven estudiantes que salen a protestar siempre. Se pasearon por la ciudad, y las “ballenas” anti disturbios de la policía venían detrás de ellos apoyando. El patrón se ha repetido en todos estos días de manifestaciones en todo el país: sueltan a los colectivos adelante, con las motos, armados, y la guardia nacional viene atrás. Lo que pasa es que yo vivo aquí en Mérida y eso no lo vi en una foto de twitter: lo vi.

Por eso yo fui a la marcha, vestida de blanco como todos. No porque hay una conspiración del imperio para tumbar a Maduro en la que yo participo, ni porque me convencieron con un folletito de la CIA de dejar de ser la hija de un exiliado político de la dictadura uruguaya para convertirme en una fascista de la ultraderecha, para usar el término con que me llama nuestro presidente. Salí, con miedo eso sí porque las balas no me gustan, a decirles a los criminales de las motos que la ciudad no es de ellos, es nuestra, que podemos caminar por sus calles cuando queremos, que no pueden decirnos con sus motos y sus pistolas adónde no ir. Salí porque si mi padre estuviera vivo, habría salido conmigo del brazo con los estudiantes. Y fue hermoso, y cantamos, y se nos unió toda la ciudad en la manifestación más grande que se había visto hasta entonces. Y entonces vino la noche, y de nuevo salieron las motos. Me llamó una amiga, atrincherada en su apartamento: vienen los “tupas”, y la policía los proteje, y quién nos defiende a nosotros.

Los tupas. No escogieron el nombre por casualidad. Lo escogieron sabiendo que hay muchos, demasiados, tristes intelectuales de la así llamada izquierda latinoamericana, para quienes el discurso y el nombre lo es todo. Usted dice tupamaro, y ellos piensan en los torturados de la dictadura uruguaya, no en los muchachos que salieron ayer mostrando las heridas que la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana les hizo cuando los detuvo. Son el tipo de gente que si usted le dice guerrillero, ellos piensan en un joven buenmozo de barbita con una boina negra y su estrellita blanca, no en un anciano narcotraficante colombiano sin escrúpulos que es capaz de secuestrar niños para llevarlos a pelear a la selva. Son el tipo de gente que piensa que Chávez nacionalizó el petróleo venezolano y nunca se fijaron en la fecha. Son gente a la que usted les dice que los políticos venezolanos de oposición no salen en ninguna televisión venezolana desde hace meses porque está prohibido, y dicen: ah, pero. Y uno sabe que si mañana en su país prohibieran aparecer a los políticos de oposición, se indignarían. Que no estarían contentos si supieran que la tercera parte de los ministros de su país son militares, que oficialmente no hay separación de poderes, que el jefe del ejército juró que la oposición jamás ganaría una elección en este país, que la presidenta del Consejo Nacional Electoral celebra todos los años el aniversario del golpe de estado que quiso dar Chávez, y me paro porque la lista es larga.

En este momento en las calles de Venezuela está ocurriendo una tragedia. No es que hay disturbios y la policía antimotines dispara bombas lacrimógenas y muere alguno, no es eso, que lamentablemente pasa en todo el mundo a cada rato. Es que hay grupos armados financiados por el estado, disparando y matando. Y hay una censura informativa total. Debería bastar que se supiera eso, debería bastar saber que en Táchira cortaron internet y sobrevuelan las ciudades aviones de guerra, que cerraron las emisoras de cable que daban noticias, debería bastar saber que están atacando a los periodistas, que hay estudiantes muertos, para que el intelectual de izquierda levante por fin los ojos de su enésima edición de “Las venas abiertas de América Latina” y mire alrededor, descubra que el siglo es el 21, que el muro de Berlín cayó, que los muchachos de la Sierra Maestra envejecieron y ahora no dejan a sus nietos gobernar, ni escribir un periódico nuevo, ni salir de su país, ni fundar un partido político, ni gritar abajo el gobierno. Que si en Venezuela no hay ni pan ni medicinas ni leche no es porque Obama está conspirando día y noche contra nosotros. Que somos perfectamente capaces de hundir económicamente un país sin ayuda de ninguna transnacional imperialista. La gente aqui piensa que los gobiernos latinoamericanos no dicen nada ante las atrocidades de este momento en Venezuela porque tienen intereses económicos. Yo pienso que no, yo pienso que es por la misma razón por la que se sacaron la foto aquella: porque viven en el siglo pasado.

Sí, Maduro dice que yo soy una fascista violenta de la ultraderecha que esta en una conspiración internacional para tumbar su gobierno. Que lo diga. Yo mañana vuelvo a salir con los muchachos, a exigir al gobierno que desarme a los colectivos, a decir que las calles son nuestras, a recordar a la estudiante que murió con una bala en la nuca, a darle fuerza a la otra que perdió un ojo. Y saldré con el mismísimo exacto orgullo, inocencia y alegría con que salen todos los estudiantes de América Latina a gritar viva la U, viva la Universidad, muera la bo, muera la bota militar. Y no, no les voy a explicar a los izquierdistas nostálgicos lo que pasa, ni les voy a mostrar los videos y a jurarles que es verdad, ni me voy a sentar a discutir con ellos cosas tan elementales como el derecho a la libertad de expresión, porque estoy, estamos, hartos. Está a la vista, mírenlo, mírennos. Estoy segura de que habrá (que hay) muchos que entiendan, y que esos no nos dejarán solos.

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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I just hope that every country that is going through so many awful situations can find peace. In my country Venezuela we are more like surviving instead of living, you cant really find food here, there’s too much violence and we have such a corrupt president, he stole the presidential so easily because this country has been governed by the same president for years (He is not even Venezuelan, he is Colombian, there have been several meetings in the National Assembly to ask him to proof he was born here but he hasn’t accept that) Every public worker is manipulated by the government and it’s pretty sad because if that’s how things are then how are we gonna get help if the army is against us? if they only do what the president says? The president sent all the army to the streets to kill every student or anyone they see protesting, too many people have died here, others are wounded and it’s all because of this horrible violence, because the army is with all those criminals that kill people to steal their stuff like cars, money etc and they make plans with those crooks to kill people that are protesting it’s like a pleasure for them to kill people without any reason.

Our president is someone with no ability to run a country, he never studied, never went to college, and it’s not like you need to do all those things to have a good future because I know there are many people that don’t really have the resources to go to a good college, I know how it is like because i dont have that opportunity neither, but that doesnt mean that someone like him can be the president of a nation, also he likes to blame other presidents from all around the world for the things that are happening here, some of those presidents are Obama, or Colombia’s ex president named Uribe, he cant really take the responsibility to accept this is all his fault and the deceased Hugo Chavez wich was our president for almost 15 years, this is a dictatorship you guys and it’ll be so hard to get out of it. If I can be honest our real presidents, yes president(s) are Raul and Fidel Castro wich are Cuba’s presidents, they were Chavez “friends” (or at least thats what he always said, that they were his friends). When Chavez died he must have told them to govern this country for him if he ever dies by given our actual president Nicolas Maduro orders. We all know that Fidel and Raul Castro have stolen so many resources from our country and I dont even know where they use it because their country it’s just as fucked up as ours, if you guys know how people live in Cuba then you must have an idea of what we are going through and what’s next for us wich is a lifestyle like theirs.

But we are fighting for our country because we want to have a better life, a better future, we want to be able to go out for a walk at midnight without thinking what could happen to us if a crook comes and tries to kill us to steal our phones, money, jewelry etc. We want peace. We want to find food at the supermarkets for our family, children etc. We want the world to know what we are going through and help us, because it’s so hard to be so young and live in a place like this. Like some students have already said “A teenager should be worried about teenagers stuff, not politic, or economy, but sadly thats what our government has gave to us, concerns, concerns and more concerns about our future”. We want to stay here in our contry, not just get on a plane and leave so we can have a better life in another one, we want to have a future here, we want to be happy here and we want to live in a country with tolerance, full of love and no matter what the other people’s opinions are we’ll respect them and not judge them.

One of our leaders Leopoldo Lopez is in jail, because the president blame all the deaths so far on him, all the people the army killed without any reason, he is paying for it, we want him free, please we want his rights to be respected, him Henrique Capriles (Which would be our president now if Maduro didnt have stolen the presidential) and Maria Corina Machado are our only hope. 

I did this because literally all we have to keep in touch and see the news is the internet and CNN en español, wich is a news channel its international and the president is already thiking on how to get this channel off of air, like he has done with other ones including radio stations, because he doesnt want the country to know the truth there is no freedom of expression, they even blocked twitter images so you can’t really always see them. Please share this, if you have a heart.

Thank you for reading this ♥

God bless.

The new “president” of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, won by doing this:

these are votes.

The contender, henrique capriles has proof that he won but the chavista dictator manipulated the votes, then burned the proof and didn’t let people from other countries check and he won’t allow international organizations to count the votes again. 

Today he told the people they can’t protest or he’ll use the armed forces, he’s taking that right from the venezuelans and the world is just staring and doing nothing