News / Americas

Two Dead in Venezuela Violence as Protests Drag On

A man walks past a barricade set by anti-government protesters at Altamira square in Caracas, March 6, 2014.
A man walks past a barricade set by anti-government protesters at Altamira square in Caracas, March 6, 2014.
Reuters
A Venezuelan soldier and a motorcyclist died in a confused melee sparked by the opposition's barricading of a Caracas street, officials said on Thursday, boosting the death toll from nearly a month of violence to 20.
 
Demonstrators have for weeks staged rallies and set up barricades to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, leading to clashes with security forces and government supporters.
 
Motorcycle drivers clearing a barricade in the middle-class neighborhood of Los Ruices were attacked by residents from nearby buildings who threw rocks and later shot at them, National Guard Gen. Manuel Quevedo said.
 
The motorcyclist who was killed, Jose Cantillo, who was in his early 20s, was shot in the neck, Quevedo said.
 
“Make no mistake, the National Guard and the armed forces are going to continue patrolling the streets to restore order,” he said in an interview at the scene of the events.
 
A second motorcycle driver was wounded and is in critical condition, President Maduro said in a televised broadcast.
 
Troops arrived in some 20 armored vehicles and used tear gas to disperse several hundred demonstrators, Reuters witnesses said.
 
Residents continued throwing rocks from above, but angry passers-by threw them back and attempted to force their way into buildings in an apparent attempt to find the assailants.
 
The troops used riot shields to shelter other soldiers from the rain of stones as they knocked down barricades and cleared debris including a car that demonstrators had burned in the morning, the witnesses said.
 
Maduro on Wednesday called on pro-government organizations including groups known as 'colectivos,' which opposition leaders describe as paramilitary groups, to help keep order in the streets.
 
The demonstrations began as sporadic protests against chronic product shortages and inflation that reached 56 percent in 2013, but expanded into a nationwide movement after three people were killed after a Feb. 12 march, unleashing the country's worst unrest in a decade.
 
Since then the protests have been more focused on complaints of excessive use of force in breaking up protests and demands for the release of imprisoned activists including Leopoldo Lopez, who spearheaded the nationwide protest efforts.
 
Protests Continue
 
Though street protests helped briefly topple the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in a botched 2002 coup, there seems little chance the current unrest could lead to a Ukraine-style overthrow.
 
Government supporters slam the protests as dangerous and damaging disruptions of public order that have prevented sick people from receiving emergency treatment and stopped citizens from carrying out day-to-day activities.
 
Maduro, a former bus driver who calls himself the 'son' of the late Chavez, has called for a meeting of presidents of the Unasur group of Latin American nations to address the unrest.
 
“Over time we are going to shut them down,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast on Thursday afternoon. “They'll be remembered as violent vandals who have killed good men and women of this country.”
 
Maduro on Wednesday cut ties with Panama on charges the country's president was conspiring with the United States to intervene in Venezuela's affairs. During a rally on Thursday he gave the Panamanian ambassador and three other diplomats in Venezuela 48 hours to leave the country.
 
The rally also included Hollywood actor Danny Glover, a long time supporter of Venezuela's revival of socialism who met with Maduro as part of Wednesday's first anniversary of Chavez's death.
 
“I'm very proud to be here with you as we commemorate and celebrate a true man of the people, Hugo Chavez; his memory lives with us,” Glover told a crowd of government supporters clad in signature red T-shirts.
 
A Venezuelan television network on Wednesday premiered U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone's documentary called “My Friend Hugo.”
 
The protests have been a mix of peaceful demonstrations by student leaders and violent exchanges between security forces and hooded protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails.
 
Barricades made of debris and burning trash have angered even government critics and have led to fights between demonstrators and drivers attempting to push their way through.
 
Protesters have increasingly defied opposition leaders' calls to rein in violence and focus on convincing skeptical Maduro supporters to change their views.
 
One prominent opposition deputy was widely pilloried via Twitter this week for calling on anti-government demonstrators to respect Wednesday's celebration of the anniversary of Chavez's death from cancer.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Don't Meddle in Our Politics, Cuba's Leader Warns US

Fomenting opposition to Cuba's government will undermine efforts at normalizing bilateral relations, he says at summit in Costa Rica
More

Owner of Gun That Killed Argentine Prosecutor Emerges From Hiding

Diego Lagomarsino says he lent firearm for protection to Alberto Nisman, who was probing 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish community center
More

Rights Group: MPs in Dozens of Countries Face Abuse

Inter-Parliamentary Union rights committee reports more than 300 lawmakers in 40 countries subject to dangers, including death
More

Mexico Confirms Missing Students Murdered by Drug Gang

Until now, the government had said only that the students were almost certainly murdered after clashing that night with corrupt police officers
More

Twin Chicago Traffickers-Turned-Informants Sentenced

Pedro and Margarito Flores get 14-year terms in exchange for cooperating in a case against Mexican drug cartel leaders
More

Chile's Bachelet Prepares Next Phase of Education Reform

After eight months of intense debate, Lower House approves first part of multi-pronged reform, which includes end to profits at state-subsidized schools
More