Venezuela’s marches showed no signs of stopping as protests rage throughout the country for a second day.
Yesterday’s death toll stood at three, with a 17-year-old boy in Caracas, and a 23-year-old woman in the western state of Tachira among the dead, while a hospital in Chacao in central Caracas reported the death of a Bolivian national guardsman.
The newspaper El Nacional is reporting that six members of Venezuela’s opposition Justice First party were detained on O’Higgins Avenue in Caracas. Over 400 Venezuelans have been detained by security forces in the past 48 hours.
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Yesterday the opposition party, National Will, published a demonstration route with 26 meeting points throughout Caracas, with the intention of arriving together in front of the public defender’s office downtown.
The mayor of the city of San Cristóbal, Patricia Gutiérrez, reported that a young woman died after being shot, allegedly by supporters of the Venezuelan government. In Caracas, a 17-year-old man lost his life earlier in the day after being shot in the head.
World leaders are calling for calm in the wake of what is certain to be a chaotic and violent week in Venezuela.
“We are concerned that the Maduro regime is violating its own constitution, and is not allowing the voices of the opposition to be heard,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a press conference on Iran. “Nor is it allowing them to organize themselves in a way that they can exercise their right to freedom of expression as the Venezuelan people.”
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos publicly demanded the Secretary of the United Nations keep up on the situation, noting, “I have directed the Colombian Minister of Foreign Relations to request that the UN Secretary General take action in consideration of the alarming militarization of Venezuelan society.”
“We are not afraid,” said Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski. “Venezuela belongs to all of the Venezuelans, and we will keep fighting for the future of our country.”
It was his prohibition from political life for 15 years that served as one of the major catalysts of the mass protests. Capriles has served several terms as Governor of populous Miranda state, north of Caracas on the coast. He was recently banned from politics over irregularities in contracts related to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. Capriles noted, however, that ruling party politician Diosdado Cabello was, in fact, governor when the contracts in question were signed.
The Venezuelan opposition is also up in arms over the government’s refusal to schedule regional elections, which were supposed to have been held months ago. The government has also used questionable pretexts to ban opposition political parties and leaders from elections. It is widely believed that the Maduro regime has refused to schedule such elections because they believe they would lose.
“We will meet up tomorrow at the same time, in the same place, because the fight for democracy never ends,” Capriles said last night. “We won’t rest until we have returned Venezuela to its rightful constitutional order!”
Source: VOA Noticias
Former president and current senator Alvaro Uribe Vélez, during a demonstration of Venezuelans in Bogota against Nicolás Maduro, said that the armed forces must disobey the mandate of what he described as "a dictatorship." Uribe called on the Venezuelan military to put their rifles in the service of democracy and asked the armed forces of the country ruled by Maduro not to continue firing on their own people, and to "ignore the dictatorship's mandate," he said in front of journalists according to the Nuevo Herald and EFE news agency. Read More: Venezuelans Celebrated Easter by Burning Effigies of President Nicolas Maduro Read More: Venezuelans to Protest Worldwide April 15 against Nicolas Maduro's Dictatorship "What they have to do is to put their weapons at the service of democratic values, never against the people who are today the victims of that opprobrious dictatorship. I hope Venezuela will quickly overcome this tragedy," the senator added. Uribe described the Venezuelan people as a prime "example of civil society" because of the marches carried out by the opposition to the government and criticized the role of the international community in the current crisis in the neighboring country of Colombia, but said that it is already beginning to awaken. He heralded the current debates taking place in the OAS, where the possibility of applying the democratic charter is being contemplated. The senator also denounced the possible presence of 4,000 FARC guerrillas in Venezuela, who, according to him, are backed by the dictatorship. This complaint had already been made by the governor of the state of Amazonas in Venezuela, Liborio Gaurulla. Yesterday, on Wednesday, April 19, Venezuelans gathered in one of the largest opposition marchers of recent times. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski called for the protests to be repeated today. In the last three weeks six days of protests have left seven people dead. The catalyst for the protests was a recent Supreme Court decision that usurped functions of the National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition. Source: El Nuevo Herald