News / Americas

More Arrests in Venezuela Protests; Maduro Slams 'Coup-seekers'

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) gestures to supporters as he arrives for a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's attempted coup d'etat in Caracas, Feb. 4, 2014.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) gestures to supporters as he arrives for a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's attempted coup d'etat in Caracas, Feb. 4, 2014.
Reuters
Venezuelan authorities have arrested another eight anti-government protesters, bringing to 19 the number being held amid street demonstrations that President Nicolas Maduro says are being orchestrated by foreign-backed “coup-seekers.”

Ten months after Maduro narrowly won an election to replace his mentor and late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, a hardline wing of Venezuela's opposition is trying to whip up street protests over rampant crime, economic hardship and alleged state repression.

Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver and union activist who has pinned his presidency on maintaining Chavez's legacy, said extreme right-wing politicians backed by “imperialist” collaborators want to bring him down by undemocratic means.

The protests have been sporadic and have seldom drawn crowds of more than a few hundred, although activists were hoping for bigger numbers at a march planned for Wednesday in Caracas.

Opposition campaigners said police detained eight people in the western Andean town of Merida on Monday night after students rallied for the release of colleagues in jail elsewhere.

“They simply unfurled banners and handed out banners,” said Tamara Suju, a human rights campaigner who works with the Popular Will party that is promoting the anti-Maduro activism.

The eight in Merida would add to four from Tachira state, and seven from Margarita island, held after other recent demonstrations, according to activists and student leaders. Some have been detained in their homes or workplaces.

Maduro is fed up

Officials say the protests are turning violent.

“I've had enough,” an angry Maduro said on state TV on Monday night. “You can accuse me of what you want, I am obliged to defend democracy and the peace of the people.”

The president said extremists were trying to undermine a political dialogue he has begun with the more moderate majority in Venezuela's opposition coalition. That has included a handshake with his arch-rival and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles during a meeting over crime.

Maduro, who constantly says conservative U.S. politicians are fomenting plans to topple him, vowed to use decree powers granted by parliament against his domestic foes.

“I'm going to look for very strict norms so that anyone involved in these coup-seeking adventures can never participate as a candidate for anything again,” he said.

That appeared to be a reference to Popular Will leader Leopoldo Lopez, a former Caracas district mayor who has been barred from running for office in the past on corruption charges. He says they were trumped up to damage him.

Lopez, 42, said officials forced him off a flight to Tachira late on Monday where he had intended to meet protest leaders.

“The desperate and cowardly actions of a criminal government will not halt the unity in the street,” he tweeted later.

In an apparent rebuke to Lopez and illustrating splits within the opposition, fellow opposition leader Capriles said he did not support the confrontational tactics being promoted by hardline activists.

“We have to find a real solution for people's problems and avoid... failed past agendas,” said Capriles, the 41-year-old governor of Miranda state who narrowly lost to Maduro in last year's presidential poll.

Massive opposition protests in the past helped bring about a brief coup against Chavez in 2002, but he returned after a 36-hour detention when the military swung behind him and supporters poured onto the streets.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Brazil's Rousseff Races to Contain Congressional Revolt Over Austerity

President meets with legislative leaders from her coalition after they unexpectedly reject presidential decree to raise payroll taxes, help close large budget gap
More

Prosecutor Appeals Dismissal of Complaint Against Argentine Leader

President was accused, by investigator later found dead, of trying to whitewash Iran's alleged involvement in 1994 Buenos Aires bombing
More

Maduro Reprisal Could Clog US Visa Process in Venezuela

President's order to slash US embassy staff will hit consular section, which in 2014 processed 232,500 applications
More

Mexico Captures Zetas Drug Kingpin in Another Blow to Cartels

Arrest is second high-profile capture of a kingpin in past week and a boost to President Enrique Pena Nieto's efforts to battle organized crime
More

Colombia Detains China Cosco Shipping Vessel Over Illegal Arms

The detained vessel, operated by Cosco Shipping Co Ltd, was headed for Cuba when it was stopped; the illegal cargo was detected during an inspection
More

Weapons Found on Chinese-Flagged, Cuba-Bound Ship

Authorities in Cartegena, Colombia, detained ship Saturday; captain faces trafficking charges
More