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Live Blog from Venezuela’s Mega-Protest against the Maduro Dictatorship

By: PanAm Post Staff - Apr 19, 2017, 12:24 pm

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Venezuela’s mega-protest against the Maduro dictatorship: Venezuelans take to the streets again today for a march of potentially historic proportions. The PanAm Post is blogging live about the event both here and on our Spanish site, which you can find here.

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On April 19, Venezuela celebrates the 207th anniversary of the start of its independence movement against Spain, prompting the democratic opposition against dictator Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship to organize marches in the streets of Caracas. The country remains under economic chaos, marked by severe shortages of food and medicine, hyperinflation, and an inept system of central planning controlled by Maduro’s cronies in the armed forces. Last week, Maduro sent helicopters to drop tear gas on protesters. This week, he announced plans to provide arms to 500,000 members of an untrained militia with the intention of combatting what he considers an “illegal effort” to topple his regime. These policy choices, coupled with pressure from the Organization of American States’ (OAS) increased effort to implement a Democratic Charter and the Supreme Court’s coup d’état against the National Assembly, have increased tensions in Venezuela.

10:15 PM

It has been reported that a member of the Bolivarian National Guard was killed in San Antonio de los Altos. Three dead after today’s protests.

9:48 PM

The #NicolasMaduroASESINO etiquette is now trending worldwide.

9:30 PM

Demonstrations and strong repression are reported in San Antonio de Los Altos, Miranda. The Bolivarian National Guard is launching tear gas bombs at housing complexes and demonstrators.

8:50 PM

A group of Venezuelans in Peru has taken to the streets of Lima to protest against the Maduro regime.

8:10 PM

400 people confirmed arrested during a day of massive nationwide protests.

8:08 PM

Protests in the la Florida neighborhood.

7:30 PM

The Venezuelan opposition announces march plans for tomorrow, with 26 meeting points along the march route, culminating in front of the Venezuelan public defender’s office.

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7:15 PM

Protesters in Bogota amass outside the residence of the Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia, in the north of the city.

7:00 PM

The Democratic Unity Party (MUD)  issued an official announcement in the wake of the protest marches and government repression this Wednesday. Governor Henrique Capriles announced a demonstration for this Thursday, April 20, at the Public Defender’s office.

“We can not allow the government to set the agenda…Tomorrow at the same time and in the same place!” concluded Capriles.

6:20 PM

Veneuelan forum on criminal law announces: more than 270 detained in protests this Wednesday.

6:15 PM

Opposition protesters managed to reach the public defender’s office in the states of Barinas and Carabobo.

6:10 PM

The Colombian senate passed a resolution declaring that Venezuela’s democratic, constitutional order has been broken under the Maduro regime and asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take concrete diplomatic measures:

6:05 PM

Security forces have arrested at least 137 protesters in the last few hours in Venezuela.

5:58 PM

Pollster Meganalisis states that 2.5 million people marched against Maduro today in Caracas and over 6 million marched nationwide. “The people are hungry and sick (of the regime).”

5:55 PM

With more and more clashes between the security forces and civilians, opposition protesters keep on resorting to improvised barricades to protect themselves from state violence. These images are from the city of Mérida:

5:45 PM

OAS chief Luis Almagro has condemned the Maduro regime’s use of repression and violence today:

5:40 PM

The Chávez-Maduro regime has taken numerous news outlets off the air. The latest victim of their censorship: Colombia’s El Tiempo Televisión.

5:35 PM

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed his concern about today’s events in Venezuela:

4:35 PM

A member of Venezuela’s feared National Guard spontaneously joined the anti-Maduro protests in Valencia. If more servicemen follow his lead and disobey their superiors, could this become a Harald Jaeger moment?

4:15 PM

The PanAm Post‘s Orlando Avendaño says that today’s protests in the city of Valencia are the largest in recent history:

4:10 PM

After protesters filled the streets of Valencia, the Chavista authorities shut off access to all major roadways, the PanAm Post‘s Orlando Avendaño reports.

4:05 PM

The Venezuelan press reports that the young woman killed in San Cristobal was the victim of Chavista paramilitary groups.

4:00 PM

Anti-Maduro protesters have torn down a fence at an Air Force base in eastern Caracas. The regime has responded with aggression from the start, and some demonstrators are not intent on keeping today’s protests entirely peaceful.

3:55 PM

A 24 year-old woman has been killed during protests in the western city of San Cristobal. This is the Maduro regime’s second known casualty today following the death of a 17 year-old economics student shot in the head in Caracas.

3:40 PM

In a speech to his followers (awfully few compared to the anti-Chavistas protesting at this very moment across Venezuela), dictator Nicolás Maduro blamed today’s violence on Julio Borges, an opposition congressman who was himself attacked by Chavista paramilitaries last year, and threatened him with legal action. Maduro added that, today, he is “more Chavista than ever before.”

3:34 PM

Protesters flee from tear gas attacks in Maracaibo:

3:29 PM

The western city of San Cristobal, located near the border with Colombia, is also the scene of massive protests against Maduro.

3:26 PM

A young man who suffered a wound to the head is evacuated via motorcycle:

3:22 PM

Civilian opposition groups set up a barricade to protect themselves from official Chavista forces. Paradoxically the communist regime is forcing the democratic opposition to adopt the tactics of the Paris Commune.

3:15 PM

Several members of the National Guard drag a Venezuelan woman on the street.

2:45 PM

Members of the opposition denounce the presence of armed paramilitaries standing next to the National Guard in Caracas:

2:37 PM

The protests in the gulf city of Maracaibo have turned into a street battle between demonstrators and the Chavista forces:

2:33 PM

Venezuelans are giving the world a lesson in courage today as the anti-Chavista marches proceed despite the regime’s thuggery.

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2:30 PM

This scene is from Caracas today. Those who called today’s protest “the mother of all marches” likely did not exaggerate.

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2:25 PM

More scenes from Maracaibo’s massive protests against dictator Maduro. The Chavista regime faces a nation-wide movement which appears to be venting its frustration as seldom before. How long can Maduro resist without turning to even worse repressive measures? Tear gas alone seems to have failed to intimidate the opposition and civil society.

2:20 PM

Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, a political prisoner, warns that protesters in western Caracas are trapped as Chavista forces launch tear bombs against them from two flanks:

2:15 PM

Things are turning ugly in the city of Maracaibo as Chavista forces attack protesters:

 

2:10 PM

Citizens of Valencia show their own strength in numbers as they gather against the Chavista regime:

2:01 PM

Venezuelans are not cowed by Maduro’s aggressions. The Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas is full to the brim:

1:58 PM

Despite the regime’s heavy-handed tactics and widespread use of tear gas, the Venezuelan opposition to the Maduro dictatorship has mobilized an impressive number of citizens today:

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1:55 PM

Medicine students aid a wounded demonstrator in Caracas:

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1:50 PM

Anti-Maduro protests gain strength in Valencia:

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1:48 PM

The National Guard repels protesters with high-powered water hoses, from a vehicle nicknamed “The Whale”, on Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas:

1:45 PM

17 year-old economics student Carlos José Moreno confirmed dead after receiving a gun shot in the back of the head during today’s anti-Maduro protests.

1:42 PM

The Venezuelan citizenry comes out en masse against the Maduro dictatorship:

1:40 PM

Members of the National Guard refuse to allow opposition congressmen and their followers to pass through their blockade.

1:37 PM

The streets of San Cristobal turn violent as the Maduro regime’s forces march against the civilian opposition.

1:32 PM

Protesters in Caracas throw themselves into the Gauire river in order to escape the tear gas which the Maduro dictatorship has used the entire day against peaceful demonstrators:

1:14 PM

The tally of injured protesters rises:

1:10 PM

Lilian Tintori, wife of Leopoldo López, a political prisoner, calls for peaceful protests as the Maduro regime steps up its repression:

1:06 PM

The current state of Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas:

1:05 PM

Strong showing for the opposition in the city of Valencia:

1:01 PM

Protesters in the city of Maracaibo also face the Maduro regime’s violence and generous use of tear gas.

12:55 PM

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles tweets about “heavy repression” on a Caracas highway, where citizens who oppose the Maduro dictatorship face attacks from the security forces.

12:50 PM

Journalist Melanio Escobar accuses members of the Venezuelan National Guard (GNB) of launching bombs filled with tear gas against private buildings and inside homes:

12:47 PM

An economics student was injured by gunfire during the protests. He is undergoing surgery in Caracas.

12:45 PM

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, a former presidential candidate, calls Maduro a compulsive liar before several news organizations including the PanAm Post:

12:35 PM

A Chavista gang of motorcyclists head toward Plaza Venezuela in Caracas in order to confront critics of the Maduro dictatorship.

12:30 PM

Protesters in Carabobo state march toward a highway as soldiers prepare to clash with them.

12:20 PM
Supporters of Voluntad Popular, the political party led by Leopoldo López, a political prisoner of the Maduro regime, protest in the state Zulia:

12:15 PM
Protesters in the coastal city of Cumaná:

12:10 PM
Twitter users denounce the regime’s repression against protesters, this time in the state of Guayana, where security forces assaulted a woman demonstrator.

12:08 PM
Prominent Venezuelan journalist Kiko Bautista speaks to the PanAm Post‘s Sabrina Martín about the prospects for today’s demonstrations:

12:00 PM
Opposition leader María Corina Machado tweets an image of several nuns joining the march against Maduro.

11:54 AM
Venezuela’s Attorney General calls on the security services to respect citizens’ right to protest.

11:15 AM
Opposition demonstrators gather in Altamira square in Caracas as they prepare to march on the adjacent highway:

Why the Fighting at Berkeley Needs to Stop

By: Guest Contributor - Apr 19, 2017, 9:29 am
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By Dan Sanchez Just how close are we to repeating the political violence of interwar Germany? How bad is it, and how bad can it get? Populist-right demonstrators and radical-left protesters clashed in Berkeley, California yesterday. The belligerents used such weapons as fists, feet, rocks, pepper spray, smoke bombs, barricades, and a trash dumpster/battering ram. There was one reported non-lethal stabbing. Arrayed on the right were members of the Alt-Right, Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and non-affiliated Trump supporters, and the left was led by Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action) and BAMN (“By Any Means Necessary”). At one point, the left-radicals ill-advisedly threw a smoke bomb while they themselves were standing downwind. The smoke wafted back in their faces causing them to flee. Today, right-populists are crowing online about having “won the Battle of Berkeley,” because, after a concerted charge, they managed to seize and hold a major downtown street. Berkeley has become a favorite battleground for these budding political street warriors. Two months ago, a scheduled speech at UC Berkeley by Alt-Right darling Milo Yiannopolis speech was canceled due to riots, arson, and assaults on Milo-supporters. Weeks later, a “March 4 Trump” was held off-campus in Berkeley, and this too was attacked by militant leftists, using metal pipes, baseball bats, two-by-fours, and bricks. Yesterday, the occasion was another pro-Trump rally in Berkeley celebrating “Patriot’s Day.” As usual, it was the leftists who were the main instigators. That doesn’t alter the fact that these gradually-escalating street conflicts signal a two-pronged threat to liberty. Nationalists Versus Communists The brawls seem like a half-hearted, semi-play-acting reenactment of the street fights of Germany’s Spartacist uprising of 1919. The “Spartacists” were Marxist insurgents who sought to overthrow the new Weimar government, take power themselves, and expropriate the bourgeoisie. The government, which itself was made up of milder Marxists, relied on nationalist militias called Freikorps to crush the uprising. Then, as yesterday, nationalists trounced communists in the streets. Yet this did not yield a happy ending. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); As Ludwig von Mises points out in Omnipotent Government, when the Freikorps first arose, they were modeled after the armed bands of communist revolutionaries that they would later suppress. “The November Revolution brought a resurgence of a phenomenon that had long before disappeared from German history. Military adventurers formed armed bands or Freikorps and acted on their own behalf. The communist revolutionaries had inaugurated this method, but soon the nationalists adopted and perfected it. Dismissed officers of the old army called together demobilized soldiers and maladjusted boys and offered their protection to the peasants menaced by raids of starving townsfolk and to the population of the eastern frontiers suffering from Polish and Lithuanian guerrilla invasions. The landlords and the farmers provided them in return for their services with food and shelter.” The Freikorps, like today’s budding right-wing street militias, arose in response to leftist aggression. That didn’t make them any less dangerous. Mises continued: “When the condition which had made their interference appear useful changed these gangs began to blackmail and to extort money from landowners, businessmen, and other wealthy people. They became a public calamity. The government did not dare to dissolve them. Some of the bands had fought bravely against the communists. Others had successfully defended the eastern provinces against the Poles and Lithuanians. They boasted of these achievements, and the nationalist youth did not conceal their sympathy for them.” The Road to Nuremberg These Freikorps were then integrated into the army, and the problem of rival armed bands subsided for a while, although it did not disappear. As Mises wrote: “War and civil war, and the revolutionary mentality of the Marxians and of the nationalists, had created such a spirit of brutality that the political parties gave their organizations a military character. Both the nationalist Right and the Marxian Left had their armed forces. These party troops were, of course, entirely different “from the free corps formed by nationalist hotspurs and by communist radicals. Their members were people who had their regular jobs and were busy from Monday to Saturday noon. On weekends they would don their uniforms and parade with brass bands, flags, and often with their firearms. They were proud of their membership in these associations but they were not eager to fight; they were not animated by a spirit of aggression. Their existence, their parades, their boasting, and the challenging speeches of their chiefs were a nuisance but not a serious menace to domestic peace. Read More: Common Objections to Skeptics of Trump’s Immigration Ban, Answered After the failure of the revolutionary attempts of Kapp in March, 1920, that of Hitler and Ludendorff in November, 1923, and of various communist uprisings, of which the most important was the Holz riot in March, 1921, Germany was on the way back to normal conditions. The free corps and the communist gangs began slowly to disappear from the political stage. They still waged some guerrilla warfare with each other and against the police. But these fights degenerated more and more into gangsterism and rowdyism. Such riots and the plots of a few adventurers could not endanger the stability of the social order.” [Emphasis added.] But then, feeling threatened by the continued existence and activity of nationalist armed bands, the embattled socialist government created a new armed force consisting of loyal Marxists. As Mises explains, this caused many in the public to throw their support behind Adolf Hitler’s personal militia, the Nazi Storm Troopers. “But these Storm Troopers were very different from the other armed party forces both of the Left and of the Right. Their members were not elderly men who had fought in the first World War and who now were eager to hold their jobs in order to support their families. The Nazi Storm Troopers were, as the free corps had been, jobless boys who made a living from their fighting. They were available at every hour of every day, not merely on weekends and holidays. It was doubtful whether the party forces—either of “the Left or the Right—would be ready to fight when seriously attacked. It was certain that they would never be ready to wage a campaign of aggression. But Hitler’s troops were pugnacious; they were professional brawlers. They would have fought for their Führer in a bloody civil war if the opponents of Nazism had not yielded without resistance in 1933.” [Emphasis added.] And the rest is History Channel programming. Once in power, the nationalist brawlers proved to be just as deadly foes to liberty as the communists they trounced in the streets and drove from power. Time to De-Escalate As the late, great Will Grigg wrote: Unlike the wholesale violence that our country saw in the late 1960s and early 1970s, contemporary street-level political conflict is heavy on posturing and pretense and light on actual bloodshed – but it does whet degenerate appetites that will grow to dangerous proportions as times get leaner and meaner. Thankfully, we are also nowhere near the level of political street violence that characterized Weimar Germany. But these things have a way of escalating. Just as the right-populists were not content to accept their “defeat” in the First Battle of Berkeley, the left-radicals will not just lick their wounds after the Third Battle of Berkeley. The right is reporting chatter among the left of bringing firearms next time. Such militarization will only breed more polarization and radicalization on the left and the right, both which are driven by a desire to wield state power. And it will provide the police state with a welcome excuse to further assault our already-decimated liberties. Read More: Protecting Maduro, Santos Turns his Back on Colombians The left-wing combatants claim to be anarchists, and yet are furthering the state. The right-wing combatants claim to be for liberty, and yet are putting liberty in danger. If these conflicts continue to escalate, no matter which side “wins,” liberty will lose. EDIT (4/18/17): Some of the interesting responses to this article made me realize one of the key problems. Too many people are more anti-leftists and anti-communists than they are anti-leftism and anti-communism. For them, it's more about the enemy tribes that hold pernicious ideas than the pernicious ideas themselves. This breeds a tribal warfare mentality that will only make things worse. Dan Sanchez is Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writings are collected at DanSanchez.me. This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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