Maria Corina Machado came back today from her trip to Brazil. Earlier today, she tweeted: “I’m back in my country; in Brazil they’re really clear on what’s happening in Venezuela and they support our fight. Muito obrigada!”.
Maria Corina headed straight to an ongoing student demonstration at the office of the United Nations in Altamira, Caracas:
Today, the mayor of the Sucre municipality, Carlos Ocariz, spoke on behalf of the Mayors for Venezuela Association and said:
23 out of the 76 MUD [opposition] mayors have proceedings [against them] in the Fiscalia, the TSJ [Supreme Court], minor tribunals or other places. The [charges] range from contempt through damages to the environment and slander, and issues involving labour. This is serious.
Ocariz says that all of the pending proceedings were started (or in at least two cases, re-started) after February 12 of this year, which is when the current protests began in earnest.
And here is a pretty dramatic picture of a National Police officer getting hit bit a molotov cocktail. Apparently it’s from Chacao last night:
And a video showing the same event as above, from a different angle:
And a line up to get into a pharmacy in Caracas this morning:
I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures of signs with interesting messages from the demonstrations today. The day’s protest “theme” revolves having Leopoldo Lopez released, and more generally, the rest of the opposition political leaders who are currently in jail, namely Daniel Ceballos and Enzo Scarano.
This one says “The people lose the fear of death when living costs too much [or, “when living is too difficult”]”:
From a market in San Carlos, Cojedes state. It reads, “We don’t need tear gas, our tears come out on their own”:
Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui. One sign reads “TSJ [Supreme Court] Executioners of the Peace” and another reads “A hungry country does not last”:
Valencia – and in particular, El Trigal – has seen some intense confrontations between the National Guard and demonstrators over the past week. My grandmother and aunt who live in El Trigal left what they half-jokingly called “the warzone” and met up with the rest of my family in Caracas to spend a few days there. These are pictures from Valencia today:
This sign from Valencia reads “Neighbours, react, let’s march together”:
Also from Valencia. This one reads, “With [price] increases and scarcity, Maduro betrays us again”. The catchiness of it doesn’t translate well into English:
Again from Valencia. The big sign at the front says “Maduro spends and the people pelando [roughly, “are poor” or “are struggling to get by”]”:
From San Diego, where people today are protesting demanding the release of their mayor, Enzo Scarano, who is currently serving a ten month prison sentence:
Interesting bit of history from that last picture: notice that the flag has 8 stars? Up until 2006, the Venezuelan flag had seven stars.
Back when the stars were originally added to the flag, they represented the seven states that had signed the declaration of independence from Spain. Guayana eventually became a Venezuelan province back in the early 19th century, and Simon Bolivar ordered an 8th star be added to the flag. As far as I know though, this change was never put into practice, so all our flags still had seven stars.
Back in 2006, Chavez wanted to honour Bolivar’s memory (I guess) by going ahead and fulfilling his wish to add the 8th star to the flag, even though the Guayana Province is a historical artefact. So if you look closely at a picture of a Venezuelan demonstration picture, you might see flags with seven stars, as a sort of irreverence to the flag Chavez made.
The Supreme Court is due to release their decision on what to do with Leopoldo Lopez fairly soon, although the exact time at which they’ll do so is anyone guess. As I mentioned yesterday, the fact that the government has formally filed charges again him means that it’s a matter of time until we learn when, not if, his trial will be held.