Today marks the 25th anniversary of the start of El Caracazo, a week of extremely violent protests and general unrest in the Caracas area that left anywhere between several dozen to around 300 people dead, with some estimates putting the figure closer to over 2,000 dead. The protests started as a result of unpopular economic measures and the end of the gasoline subsidy program. After initially not reacting at all, security forces went wild and would fire into crowds of protesters, attack residential buildings, and torture and execute captured protesters. You can learn a bit more about this event from Wikipedia.
25 years on, it looks like Venezuela has not come very far. Or is it that, when perpetrated by a leftist government, these kinds of abuses are justified?
Today was an important day because it’s the start of a 6 (or 7) day weekend. The opposition thought the government added two extra days to this weekend in order to get people to relax and go to the beach (which is what Venezuelans usually do on holiday), but it appears that at least some of them are still on the street.
Here is a picture from Puerto Ordaz from 11:30 this morning with the now famous Puerto Ordaz Long Flag (seriously, it’s in every single picture of a protest in Puerto Ordaz):
This one is from Valencia:
This one if from around noon in El Rosal, in Caracas:
Here is a humorous sign on a barricade from Valencia again ushering in the start of beach season! The sign reads “Welcome to Isabelica Beach”:
And here is a sign some protesters had in Tucacas, in the state of Falcon, obviously as a jab to the impression the government wants people to just drop this whole thing and enjoy the holiday. It reads, “SOS Venezuela Tucacas United There is nothing to celebrate here”:
Finally, here is a creative bit of street art from Barrio Obrero, which I believe is in either San Cristobal or Cabimas, in Zulia state. It reads “Protect the [mucha]chos…”? (Protect the kids) and it shows an angel (of justice?) kicking Maduro’s butt:
Last night, Maduro had called for a “National Peace Conference”. Maduro proposed three main points in order to start “peace talks” with the opposition:
“First of all, that the Constitution be respected by everyone… Second, no more violence. Let’s get rid of the focus on violence that exists in the country. Let everyone say what they need to say. The third point, the defense of our country in the face of interventionism the likes of which we haven’t seen in 15 years. The defense of our sovereignty.”
Apparently, during the proceedings Maduro asked for a round of applause for the National Guard. This morning, Antonio Ledezma observed on Twitter, “During the ‘peace’ conference there was applause for the repressive National Guard instead of a minute of silence for the dead students.”
A new video has surfaced showing a different angle of the beating Marvinia Jimenez received earlier this week in La Isabelica in Valencia on Monday. The video was taken much closer to the scene than the other beating video, and this one clearly shows the guardswoman striking Marvinia in the head with her helmet twice.
Note: The demonstration in El Rosal, Caracas (pictures above) ended up being broken up by the National Guard. Here are some pictures of it happening: