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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Colombia Says 2 More Journalists Missing in Rough Area

    Journalists missing in region where security forces are already carrying out massive search for prominent Spanish journalist, President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday

    Cuba to Legalize Small, Medium-sized Private Businesses

    Move could significantly expand space allowed for private enterprise in one of world's last communist countries

    Coca Cola to Halt Some Production in Venezuela

    Sugar shortages and a deep recession have been forcing production shutdowns across the country

    Recording Allegedly Shows Minister Plotting Against Brazil's Rousseff

    Planning Minister Romero Jucá, who will step down temporarily, denies allegation, says words in published transcript of tape were taken out of context

    Mercury Poisoning Prompts Peru to Declare State of Emergency in Amazon

    People, rivers and fish poisoned; government blames illegal gold mining

    Peru's Fujimori Faces Money-laundering Investigation

    Probe opened in March, but became widely known Friday after report in Lima newspaper; investigation is focused on alleged suspicious financial transactions and campaign contributions