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Food Riots Shut Down Venezuelan City as Police Join Rampage

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jun 15, 2016, 5:02 pm
“El Cumanazo”: The city of Cumaná awoke ravaged this Wednesday June 15. Robberies were so widespread that over 100 stores decided not to open their doors following the previous day's riots.
“El Cumanazo” was trending on Twitter after the city of Cumaná awoke to massive destruction this week.(Maduradas)

EspañolThis Tuesday, June 14, Venezuela witnessed an outburst of violence in the country’s eastern city of Cumaná that involved looting, riots, protests and hundreds of destroyed stores. Venezuelans, responding to food scarcity, were seeking to survive amid the lowest wages on the continent and the highest inflation in the world.

Cumaná, capital of the state of Sucre, is a small beach city struggling to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by Nicolás Maduro’s regime.

 This is the looting in Cumaná’s Industrial Zone of Fe y Alegría on June 14, leaving 400 detained.  

“El Cumanazo” is trending on Twitter, as the city awoke nearly destroyed Wednesday, June 15.  There were so many robberies that approximatley 100 stores were not able to open their doors.

Security forces and Venezuelans faced off on the streets during further protests that included the chant “Hay hambre, queremos comida” (There is hunger, we want food). Social media caught police taking part in the robberies.

CAUGHT RED HANDED! Cumaná police looting in the midst of riots after El Cumanazo.

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Venezuelans on the streets. (PanAm Post)

Members of the Bolivarian National Guard and the regional and municipal police shot into the air to disperse crowds. People retreated and then returned for more goods later until military reinforcements were sent from the neighboring state of Anzoátegui.

Overall, two people died in the event.

The death of Carlos Colón Castañeda was confirmed in the midst of the protest. He had been watching the looting when he was reportedly killed by a passing motorcycle, suffering contusions to the chest. Twenty-five people were reportedly wounded and 400 people arrested.

Overnight, Cumaná’s mayor David Velazquez forbade the circulation of private motorcycles in the city for 72 hours.

More cities “on fire”

The delay on the arrival of food to be distributed by the government motivated the inhabitants of the state of Trujillo west of the country to protest for the second consecutive day. On Monday, protesters looted the Mercal supply center.

Inhabitants of different communities blocked the roads as a way to protest food scarcity that had prevented them from getting enough food for the last two months.

In the state of Mérida, also in the Venezuelan Andes west of the country, protests for food scarcity resulted in the death of a 17-year-old, according to deputy Arquímedes Fajardo of the Committee of Independent Electoral Political Organizations.

The state of Miranda in the Central Region of the country awoke Wednesday to the same kind of protests. Venezuelans demand food while chanting that they were hunger, blocking roads with a bus and attracting members of the Bolivarian National Guard.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Bolivian President Evo Morales’s “Secret Son” Was a Hoax

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jun 15, 2016, 3:10 pm
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EspañolThe story of the supposed son of President of Bolivia Evo Morales and Gabriela Zapata came out after the child that appeared in court was discovered to have been "borrowed." The son that Evo Morales' former girlfriend Gabriela Zapata presented to the judge was not hers, but rather the son of one of her friends that left the child with her. The true parents of the child, Victor Carlos Vega and Isela Chávez, lent their child of five years in the name of "friendship" that had been established with Pilar Guzmán, the "spiritual" aunt of Gabriela Zapata. Though Vega and Chávez claimed to be repentant of what they had done, and claimed economic necessity had forced them to accept the proposal to allow their son to stand in place of an otherwise imaginary person, the judge still ordered their arrests. Lawyers working on the case said the couple received approximately US $5,000 as well as a guarantee that that son would be educated at a prestigious school in La Paz. // Others involved were also sent to jail, such as Claudio Rivera Guzmán (the son of Pilar Guzmán) and another member of the family, Juan Garrido Espinoza, who was involved in the exchange. Zapata's defense attorneys William Sánchez Peña and Wálter Zuleta were also found to be involved illegally in the process — the first because, according to reports, he was involved in finding contacts with international journalists that would cover the existence of the President's supposed son; the second for managing finances covering the fraud. In fact, Zapata, in her official statement, stated that she authorized Zuleta to dispose of certain property and to make payments related to the fraud. According to officials, the lawyer sold one of Zapata's cars for US $20,000, from which the parents received their US $5,000. Read More: Bolivian Army Forced to Sing Anthem Praising President Morales Read More: Venezuela and Bolivia do little or nothing to combat drug trafficking In February, the journalist Carlos Valverde reported the trafficking of influence between the government and the Chinese company CAMC involving more than US $500 million  led to the discovery of Morales' son. The President admitted that he had a son with a young girl, but he had supposedly died at birth. After uncovering more facts, Zapata claimed the child lived, was outside of the country and had received a private education. This was presented before a judge, who established the non-existence of the child. Last week, Morales changed his version of the story and said that the child had died at two years old. But Saturday, Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero said the investigators established that the supposed child had been hired.

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