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I woke up this morning from a message from my aunt saying that there was something happening in Caurimare and El Cafetal in Caracas between the National Guard and demonstrators. My aunt works at a hospital which is just off the main road that runs through Caurimare and El Cafetal.

My aunt told me that she was supposed to be working today, but since she couldn’t find anyone to take care of my grandmother for the day, she switched shifts with someone. She says, “Anyway, no one’s been able to get in our out of the hospital since last night… since Wednesday, there was access only into the hospital, but today there hasn’t been.”

According to newspaper reports, National Guard troops were active in the area all morning starting at around 4:30 AM. The confrontations lasted throughout the morning. Gerardo Blyde, the mayor of the Baruta municipality (in which El Cafetal is located), confirmed later in the day that approximately 14 people were injured during the demonstration, and 10 had to be treated for asphyxiation, presumably as a result of the use of tear gas by security forces. Twelve people were detained, and they are all scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

Here are some pictures from the confrontation in El Cafetal and Caurimare this morning:

This picture, also from El Cafetal this morning, shows National Guard forces appearing to fire tear gas as a woman stood (or knelt) directly in front of them moments prior:

The Amnesty International report released on Tuesday called attention to this sort of behaviour by security forces:

According to information received by this organization, with the aim of dispersing demonstrators and preventing them from erecting barricades, or as a punishment for these actions, security forces have used tear gas in an indiscriminate and excessive manner, in some cases aiming directly at the bodies of demonstrators, as well as the use of tear gas in closed spaces and in residential zones.

And finally, a picture of a detained man being taken away from the demonstration in El Cafetal this morning by National Guard troops:

This video shows a group of men being being detained by the National Guard this morning. As they are loaded into the bus, some people in the crowd are yelling, “Valiente! Valiente!” [roughly, “Be brave!”], “Fortaleza!” [“Be strong!”] and ““Pa’lante muchachos!” [roughly, “Keep doing what you’re doing, boys!”], all words of encouragement:

This huge flag appeared in Altamira this morning. Note that it has seven stars, which is – like I mentioned earlier – a symbol of protest against the eight-star flag Chavez introduced in 2006:

Also, this guy who was present at demonstrations in Chacao sometime during the past few days is causing some worry:

Delcy Rodriguez, the Minister of Communication and Information, retweeted the pictures and said, “These pictures from APF (Agencia de Prensa Francesa) show the truth to the country and the world regarding the terrorist violence of opposition groups who oversee [i]guarimbas[/i] in some places:

Citing severe paper shortages, and the fact that there appears to be no relief on the horizon, El Universal today said that starting on April 15 it would condense its newspaper from Monday to Saturday into two sections of 12 pages each. The head of printing at El Universal, Elides Rojas, said that they were hoping to save 10 pages per day per issue with this measure. The measure will ensure that the newspaper has enough paper to print on til around June. The article also says:

To buy newsprint paper, media outlets depend on the authorization of exchange money from the government. During the past eight months, the government has not handed out exchange money, and the authorizations for new paper have been pending for the last two months, which forces [us to take these] preventative actions.

 

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