Repression in Venezuela Targets Protesters to Prevent March Even Taking Place

By: Max Radwin - Apr 20, 2017, 4:24 pm
Repression in Venezuela
After a violent interaction with pro-Maduro troops yesterday, the Venezuelan opposition took to the streets again. (Noticias)

Though the massive march came to an end March 19, those opposing President Nicolás Maduro’s adminsitration did not leave the streets to protest against repression in Venezuela.

Brutal repression, death, injury and arrests the day before only inspired the country’s political opposition party The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to announce that they would keep to the streets to demand restitution of constitutional order.

Repression of the demonstrations began early in the morning in the state of Carabobo, where police began shooting pellets inside San Joaquin building complex around 10 a.m. Protesters in the capital of Caracas wouldn’t gather until an hour later, starting in the neighborhoods of Altamira and Santa Monica.

But the Bolivarian National Guard did not wait for opponents of Maduro to gather in big numbers and organize. At all expecting meeting points, they began shooting tear gas to break up demonstrations.

Ultimately, protesters in Caracas were able to concentrate in Santa Fe and Caurimare, as routes to La Candelaria, El Paraíso and San Bernardino were broken up and too heavily guarded.

Mayor of El Hatillo David Smolansky met demonstrators in Caurimare, rallying the crowd there to remain organized and civil.

“We are gathering to protest in a peaceful and non-violent way,” he said.

But it was Maduro’s troops that turned the day violent, as paramilitary forces arrived in Santa Monica, El Paraiso and part of downtown Caracas just after midday with shotguns and tear gas.

Thirty minutes later, members of the opposition began to gather on the Francisco Fajardo Expressway and the Prados del Este Expressway while continuing to march along Rio de Janeiro Avenue. In minutes, they blocked the highway surrounding Las Mercedes.

But there was confusion and lack of organization. Many of the protesters did not seem to have a definite plan or concrete objective, which caused stalling and then clashes between police and protesters on Avenida O’Higgins. Police ambushed others in Chacaito with tear gas and shotguns. Helicopters flew over the highway, and are expected to drop tear gas, as they did a week before.

The Bolivarian National Guard began to repress protestors on the Francisco Fajardo highway, and the march slowly started to disperse from there.

So far, two deaths have been counted — a 17-year-old male and a 24-year-old female — both of which were the result of paramilitary violence.

Max Radwin Max Radwin

Max is an editor with PanAm Post. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2015 with a Major in English Literature and a minor in Spanish Language. He has written for Newsday, Al Jazeera and The Miami Herald, among others.

Mother of All Marches Rages Across Venezuela for Second Day

By: David Unsworth - @LatinAmerUpdate - Apr 20, 2017, 2:16 pm
In the wake of three dead in yesterday's march, Venezuelans took to the streets for a second day to demand a return to democracy and Constitutional order (

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. Read More: Colombia's Uribe Urges Military to Rebel Against Venezuelan Regime Read More: Live Blog From Venezuela's Mega Protest against the Maduro Dictatorship 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." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); 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

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