Two more people were killed overnight as a result of the protests.
In San Cristobal, Tachira, three people were in the process of putting up a barricade when they somehow came into contact with a high voltage electrical wire. Two people were injured, and a man named Alberto Romero died.
Tachira – and San Cristobal specifically – has been the site of the most violent demonstrations. Here is a picture from Tachira, from yesterday:
In Maracaibo, Roberto Annese was killed as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest during a demonstration, according to witnesses. The governor of Zulia state, Francisco Cardenas, says that he died as a result of some kind of explosion. It is being alleged that Roberto was killed by security forces.
Here is a video, taken at around 6:30 AM this morning, at the scene of Roberto’s death. The police have cordoned off the area, and some of the people in the crowd are asking them why they can’t enter the area they’ve sealed off. At the end of the video, one of the women in the crowd says, “We already have the witnesses. Those who were standing beside him will make statements”.
WARNING: At the end of the video, you can see Roberto lying on the ground, dead, for about 2 seconds:
This second video was presumably taken at around the same time as the one above. It shows a woman crying and being consoled by a man. At the end of the video, the crying woman yells, “No lo mato el ampa, lo mataron unos malditos policias!” [“He wasn’t killed by criminals, he was killed by some damn cops!”]:
News from Around the Country
A survey released yesterday found that 64% of Venezuelans believe that the Maduro government is worse than the Chavez government. The same survey found that 26% of Venezuelans consider themselves to be hard line Chavistas, while 32% consider themselves to be hard line opposition supporters.
Yesterday, Tareck El Aissami, governor of Aragua, made some comments on the violence in the San Isidro neighbourhood of Maracay, where two nights ago there, where confrontations between pro government and opposition supporters, resulting in fires and property damage. El Aissami blamed the damage to the community on “fascist gangs”. El Aissami said through Twitter:
Some imbeciles pretend to justify the acts of terrorism saying that they are ‘peaceful protests’. Enough Fascism!
How much longer [will we see] these terrorist attacks from fascists gangs? Why must some people justify these acts?
Maduro Responds to Deaths
Today, the PSUV held an eco-socialist event to “reject the mistreatment of the environment and the use of animals during violent protests”. Maduro said that ecocide since the start of the protests has claimed thousands of trees.
This is a picture of Maduro at the event:
These are some of the things Maduro said at the event:
More than five thousand trees have been destroyed to construct barricades in the main cities of the country.
I have given orders to the intelligence bodies, since we have pictures and videos, for them to find and hand over to the [i]Fiscalia[/i] those responsible for this ecocide. That’s the first thing we have to do, punish crime. There cannot be impunity.
[This march today] demonstrates that this side, the side of the patriots, is where the bright ideas that are going to carry Venezuela to her superior destiny are found… We do have a project, we have values, we have ideas, we have a gigantic love for our homeland.
Never before has a political group, in this case from the right, massively attempted [to harm] nature and life as is being done now. I never cease to be surprised of how people in their hatred have done harm to this country, because that’s what they’re harming – the country. Tell me, what does the life of a tree have to do with the desire to overthrow the Venezuelan president? That’s why I never cease to be surprised when news reaches me of what they’ve done.
He also spoke about the two men who died earlier today. According to Maduro, a San Cristobal city councillor named Omar Bustos had ordered three youths earlier this morning to build a barricade in San Cristobal. On the deaths in San Cristobal, Maduro said:
… And this morning these kids, they brought down the fence, in their insanity and hate, and from money that they are receiving from Colombian paramilitaries who are being paid by the right in San Cristobal, because they want to take Tachira from us. Paramilitary gangs want to create total chaos to take it from Venezuela. Well, look what happened, when [the youths] were taking down the fence they touched a high voltage cable. They [got electrocuted], and one of them died. Whose fault was it?… the fault is that of who ordered them to do it, the right. One of them is hurt and the other is not in any danger.
And on the man who died in Maracaibo:
… Another man also with some kind of home made bazooka, he shot it… and died instantly. Who answers for those dead kids, and who in the opposition takes responsibility for Venezuelan youths [they sent] to be killed? Cowards, who don’t take responsibility and hide. That’s why these people, day in and day out, reject the cowardice of the leaders of the opposition.
The government has formally requested that councillor Omar Bustos be investigated for the death in San Cristobal this morning. Bustos has allegedly been under surveillance for two weeks for suspicion of being involved in the barricades.
There were demonstrations today throughout the country
The demonstration in Altamira:
And in front of the Supreme Court:
This is a picture of a crowd that formed at the morgue in Maracaibo after the death of Roberto Anesse in the city earlier this morning:
Somewhere in Anzoategui:
From Valencia. Apparently Carabobo state police were impeding the demonstrators from walking down the Avenida Bolivar Sur:
And this picture is from the line up at the Abasto Bicentenario in San Bernardino, Caracas, at around 8:50 AM today:
Not sure where this picture was taken, or if it’s from today, but it’s interesting none the less. It shows demonstrators holding various mock ups of common food products (flour, milk, oil, sugar) that are suffering from the highest levels of scarcity. It must be fairly recent, since the big sign on the left has “Tarjeta de Racionamiento” written on it – which is what some people consider the “Targeta de Abastecimiento”, rolled out in the past two weeks, to be: a rationing card. Anyway, here’s the picture:
Lastly, here is a video taken in Maracaibo from about a month ago, but what it depicts is topical so here it is. It shows a group of motorcyclists riding by, unopposed, a group of National Guard troops:
At the beginning of the video, the National Guard are located on motorcycles on the right side of the screen. The motorcyclists (Which in the video are refereed to as “Tupamaros”, another word for “colectivo armado”) begin to ride down the street on the left side of the screen. The people in the car from which the video is filmed point out, “Look! Tupamaros, together with the National Guard, taking barricades down”. At 0:36, one of the men on the bikes throws an object over the fence of the building in front of which the are riding. The video quality makes it hard to say what they threw. If nothing else, however, it’s more evidence that the National Guard is unwilling/unable to deal with these types of motorcyclists.