Thousands of Venezuelans and opposition sympathizers marched through the streets of Madrid, Spain today in protest against the Maduro government. The demonstration is likely the largest of its kind ever held outside of Venezuela.
Lora Monroy, a Venezuelan who moved to Spain 13 years ago and still has family in the country told Spanish media her reason for protesting:
There’s no medicine, there’s no food. The elderly have to wake up in the early morning hours to go line up [to buy food and medicine] (…) this is why we want a referendum now!
Karen Goncalves, a 19 year old protesters originally from Venezuela, said that her family still lives in Valencia, Carabobo state. Goncalves said:
[My family] has businesses but they’re on the verge of bankruptcy because they don’t have merchandise and supplies. They don’t have foreign currency to buy things abroad… we have to cross the border into Colombia to buy things to sell in the businesses.
Below, images from today’s demonstration in Madrid, Spain:
Villa Rosa Detainees Released, Except for Jatar
Every one of the people arrested for Friday night’s cacerolazo against Maduro in Villa Rosa, Margarita Island has been released, according to the Foro Penal Venezolano [Venezuelan Penal Forum] (FPV). The FPV estimates that as many as 40 people were arrested after protesting against Maduro by banging pots and pans and hurling insults at him as he walked through Villa Rosa on Friday night.
The one remaining detainee is lawyer and journalist Braulio Jatar, who was arrested on Saturday morning for allegedly sharing videos of the Villa Rosa on his news website, Reporte Confidencial.
Jatar’s son, Brauilio Jatar Jr., announced through Twitter earlier today that his father is being charged with “legitimizing capital”, a charge that is similar to money laundering. Jatar Jr. said that, after being in the procession of his father’s car for 26 hours, authorities said that they found “a large amount of money” in the vehicle.
Witnesses Describe How Maduro Lost it in Villa Rosa
El Nacional published an article today in which it provides eye-witness testimony of how Maduro lost his cool at Villa Rosa on Friday night after he was confronted with dozens of angry protesters.
On Friday night, Maduro took the unusual step of leaving his vehicle and decided instead to walk with the angry crowd. One witness suggests that Maduro mistook the commotion for adoration:
His mistake was thinking that people were clapping for him. He was confused. That’s why he got out of the car.
Another resident said:
He decided to get out of the car, and they started throwing rocks and swearing at him. He had to start running. He wasn’t expecting this.
The angry crowd allegedly hit Maduro and threw objects at him, apart from insulting him. One witness told the newspaper:
I was two meters away from Maduro and I saw how a woman hit him on the shoulder. He turned around and said, “Why are you hitting me?”.
Another resident told El Nacional that at one point, Maduro grew so angry with the crowd that he began fighting back:
At first, [we] just wanted him to leave. He was so angry over the cacerolazo that he broke the security cordon himself and starting confronting people. He ripped some pans out of their hands.
Villa Rosa was once a bastion of chavismo. In the 2006 presidential elections, 63.3% voted for Chavez, while only 36.4% voted for the opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales.
However, in the 2013 presidential election, 53.86% voted for Henrique Capriles, while only 45.84% voted for Maduro. The trend continued into the 2015 parliamentary elections, when 60.07% voted for the opposition while only 38.18% voted for the PSUV.
Maduro Calls Allup “Motherfucker” On Live TV
During his speech at the PSUV rally on the Bolivar Avenue in Caracas on Thursday, Maduro went on an angry tirade against Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly. While Allup is often the target of Maduro’s wrath, Maduro took things a step further by calling Allup a “motherfucker” in front of the approving crowd.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Maduro: … say “poor guy, he’s [Allup] is just a little old man”. He’s a little old man, but he’s a motherfucker! He’s a little old man, but he’s very perverse and very evil!
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