Long Post-Protest Night in Venezuela Ends with Confusion, Riots and One Dead

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 21, 2017, 12:00 pm
Long Post-Protest Night in Venezuela Ends with Confusion, Riots and One Dead
The highlight of last night was the information “blackout”. The media did not report on what was going on and hundreds of Venezuelans were guided by rumors. (@caraboboreporta)

EspañolVenezuela made it through a long night full of tension, disinformation, riots and repression. One person reportedly died.

On Thursday, April 20, Caracas was the scene of looting, blockades, tear gas and much confusion on social media.

The resurgence of violence was so strong that 50 children were forced to evacuate a hospital because of excess of tear gas.

And then there was the information blackout. The media did not report what was happening and hundreds of Venezuelans were guided by rumors of an alleged military uprising, unofficial audio sent through whatsapp, dark videos and reports on Twitter.

The west side of Caracas, which has traditionally supported Maduro’s policies, became a war zone on Thursday night, most specifically in El Valle, La Urbina, Petare and El Paraiso.

Neighbors in those areas said the Bolivarian National Guard fired tear gas into buildings in the middle of the night.

A surprising image spread through social media showing a large projection of the phrase “Dictator Maduro” and “Murderer Maduro” on the side of a building in the neighborhood El Paraiso.

Tweet: The resistance and civil disobedience expressed in all its forms. Projection on a building in El Paraiso, Caracas.

Clashes between security forces and radical demonstrators led to the evacuation of 54 children who were being held at the maternity and children’s hospital in El Valle.

“The dictator ordered his people to repress our people of El Valle in Caracas,” opposition leader and Governor of Miranda Henrique Capriles said.


Meanwhile, Mayor of Sucre, Carlos Ocariz, reported Friday morning that a person identified as Melvin Guaitan was killed during the protests in the Cinco de Julio neighborhood, at the entrance of Petare.

Tweet: With great pain, I must inform you all of Melvin Guaitan’s death, a humble worker from the Sucre neighborhood was killed by a bullet.

According to Ocariz, Guaitan died from a bullet wound, but he did not offer more details and demanded an investigation into his death.

Southeast of Caracas, in areas such as Santa Fe, La Trinidad and Baruta, riots and lootings were also reported.

Meanwhile, there was a blackout in the Simon Bolivar airport in Maiquetia.

Tweet: Reports of blackouts in Maquetia airport.

Tweet: AT THIS TIME 12:52am Electricity restored at Maquetia airport terminals. Flight from Panama and another from Miami have landed.

Reflecting lights lit up the city near the Presidential Palace, which caused a commotion because they were interfering with antiaircraft reflectors that are usually not on.

Tweet: ATTENTION Antiaircraft emergency lights were on several hours ago in Miraflores.

Chavez supporter Freddy Bernal tried to publicize the problem, but no media outlets, not even government-run channels, broadcasted his statements.

Sources: La Patilla; El Estímulo

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

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

The Rachel Maddow Show’s Fake News on Venezuela

By: Max Radwin - Apr 21, 2017, 11:11 am
Maddow Show's Fake News on Venezuela

Venezuelans swarmed the streets this week in protest of a brutal dictator who has led the country into a humanitarian crisis without food or medicine, freedom of speech or democratic government. They were certainly not protesting Donald Trump, despite what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow may tell you. Maddow tried to claim on her show Thursday night that the streets of Venezuela had exploded with protests and marches in response to recent news surrounding a subsidiary of a major Venezuelan oil company that donated half a million dollars to the Trump campaign. Read More: Repression in Venezuela Targets Protesters to Prevent March Even Taking Place Seriously? It's pretty clear the citizens of Venezuela had other priorities, like making sure their children do not die of hunger or illnesses. April 19 marked 207 years of Venezuelan independence from Spanish colonialism, and with that date in mind, both the political opposition and President Nicolás Maduro planned rallies that ultimately clashed and, the next day, saw military force used against unarmed citizens. Yet the banner caption running on MSNBC read, “Unrest In Venezuela Over Trump Donations” — what many following the events in Venezuela criticized as sloppy reporting to the point of fake news. No argument there. “Venezuela is a country in intense turmoil right now,” Maddow said. “The sanctions that the US put on Venezuela were put there in 2014 after 43 people got killed while participating in anti-government protests. Another three people got killed just yesterday. There have been protests for weeks and weeks and weeks. And today Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from The White House.” Undoubtedly, there were some rage in response to the news that the country’s oil company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) had contributed more to Trump’s presidential run than Google and Ford Motor Company — raising doubts about the new US administration’s willingness to support intervention in the dictatorship. But consider the never-ending sequence of disastrous policy decisions Maduro and his socialist party have made in recent months: Last week, he sent helicopters to drop tear gas on peaceful protests. This week, he announced he would be arming one million untrained militia loyalists, which incited international criticism from the European Union and neighboring countries like Colombia. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); A month prior, the country's packed Supreme Court ruled the country’s legislative body, the National Assembly, had been compromised by political opposition, and overrode its authority. Doesn’t all of that seem a bit more motivating for protesters than a FEC campaign donation filing? Read More: New York Times Apology: As A Venezuelan I Accept It - About Time! Not to mention that opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), had officially announced and tweeted repeatedly about the point of the march days before the PDVSA donation made headlines. Someone needs to fire the research interns on The Rachel Maddow Show, or tell her to at least get better fact checkers.

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