At least 12 people were killed last night in Caracas as anti-regime unrest in the city ended in chaos, with gun battles and looting affecting several areas of the capital.
The area hardest hit by the unrest was El Valle, which is located towards the southern edge of the city. Gun battles rang out throughout the neighbourhood for most of the night, and lasted into the overnight hours.
At least ten people were killed in El Valle alone. Eight of them died of electrocution when they came into contact with live wires while attempting to loot an industrial refrigerator from the La Mayer bakery. Another individual was killed while defending his business in the neighbourhood from looters.
A tenth man died in the Petare area of Caracas, located in the city’s east end. Sucre municipality mayor Carlos Ocariz announced this morning that a 29-year-old named Melvin Guaitan was shot and killed during a protest in the barrio 5 de Julio area of Petare.
The total death toll of the unrest that began to shake the country on April 6 now stands at 19.
Fighting also broke out in the neighbourhood of El Paraiso, which is located north of El Valle. Below, a video showing a gun fight in the area last night, some time between 9:00 PM and 9:45 PM local time:
Another video recorded at around the same time in El Paraiso:
Government militias known locally as colectivos armados were out in force throughout much of Caracas last night. Below, a militia group near the 5 de Julio bridge in La Urbina:
Earlier in the day, a heavily-armed colectivo paraded through the streets of the 23 de Enero neighbourhood of the city shouting pro-regime slogans:
National Assembly president Julio Borges reacted to the violence overnight during a press conference, and placed the blame squarely on the lap of the Maduro regime for arming its civilian supporters and encouraging them to fight opposition supporters:
[This is a regime that], after calling its people out onto the streets and arming them, now tries to say that they’re not responsible for the violence.
The violence is called Nicolas Maduro. The government does violence on the people when it stops them from expressing themselves through voting. Call elections, and let the Venezuelan people decide their own future, their destiny.
Children’s Hospital Evacuated Due to Tear Gas
Shortly before midnight, a children’s hospital in El Valle had to be evacuated after clouds of tear gas launched by authorities to disperse protesters crept into the facility. The toxic fumes forced 54 children to be removed from the hospital.
Below, an image of the evacuation. The text of the tweet reads: “This is how people affected by tear gas at the [Children’s Hospital] in El Valle were taken away”:
Venezuelans authorities are known for their unrestrained and frequent use of tear gas to repress protests. While the toxic gas is banned in warfare according to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, its use as a protest-repression tool is not outlawed by international law.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International issued a statement lamented the high number of protesters injured so far by the “asphyxiating effects of the tear gas”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez gave the regime’s official position on the event late last night, saying that “armed gangs hired by the opposition” had attacked the hospital, but did not provide any additional details.
At an event in the area earlier today, Libertador municipality mayor Jorge Rodriguez blamed the violence in El Valle last night on a trio of opposition National Assembly deputies: Jose Guerra, Tomas Guanipa and Richard Blanco.
… they are giving money to criminal gangs and paramilitaries. We will find them wherever they hide.
Rodriguez did not provide any evidence for his claims.
Opposition To March Tomorrow in Memory of Fallen
The opposition will march again tomorrow in an event that it has called the “Marcha en Silencio” [The Silent March]. The march will take place in memory of the approximately 20 Venezuelans who have died in the past two weeks during the unrest that has shaken the country.
Below, a promotional poster for the march. The poster reminds supporters to wear white:
The march will begin with rallies in 20 different areas of the city. The destination for the march will be the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference offices in the Montalban area of the city.
Regime Disseminates “Combat Manual” With MUD Politician’s Home Address, Phone Numbers
The Maduro regime has released what it calls the Manual del Combatiente Revolucionario [Revolutionary’s Combat Manual] that includes, among other things, the personal home addresses and telephone numbers of several leading opposition politicians.
The existence of the booklet was first revealed by PSUV National Assembly deputy Pedro Carreño, who showed it off during the Confidencias interview show on April 18.
Below, a video showing the moment Carreno revealed the booklet’s existence live on television:
Carreño: … it has their addresses and their locations…
Man Recording: It is Tuesday, April 18. Minutes ago, Pedro Carreño just showed the government’s plan of action on the [state-owned] VTV channel. Look at this shit. Look at it. It’s a little book with the the picture and address–look, Lilian Tintori, Adriana… holy shit. Listen.
Carreño: … it has their picture, where they meet… [to the camera] go ahead, zoom in, zoom in really close. Zoom in really close so we can see them. The people know where they have to go. And look at what it says: “No to confrontations between the two sides”, Manual del Combatiente Revolucionario, ‘We know where we have to go'”.
That’s the little book that they’ve been spreading around. There’s another, smaller one. It’s got their pictures, their addresses, where they live…
Man Recording: There you have it! Photos and addresses, so they know where to go get them. These are words from Pedro Carreño inciting violence against opposition political leaders. This happened live just a few minutes ago on April 18. It is around… 11:00 PM.
The release of the booklet follows comments by PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello on Monday in which he threatened opposition leaders. During a press conference that day, Cabello said:
Don’t mess with us, because we know where we have to go. Our people are excited to go where they have to go. And when we go, there won’t be going back. This isn’t 2002. No, no. For example, we know where each of them lives and who they move around with.
Citing sources familiar with the creation of the booklet, El Nacional reported today that it was conceived and compiled by the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service [SEBIN], which is the regime’s secret police.
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