The unrest that has shaken the country since April continued into its 60th day today, with anti-regime protesters and authorities engaging in skirmishes in major cities around Venezuela.
The protests today developed in the now-steady rhythm that the unrest has taken, with the intensity of the repression increasing as the sun set.
Below, images and video from today’s unrest.
The images below shows clouds of tear gas creeping through the Los Olivos residential complex in the city of Puerto Ordaz:
In El Paraiso, Caracas, protesters stood on a road and blocked traffic throughout the evening:
In Tachira state, protesters threw Molotov cocktails and what appear to be home made explosives at National Guard soldiers. In the video below, a soldier is hit in the leg and temporarily set ablaze by a Molotov cocktail:
Capriles: Regime Gives Protests Movement 8 Days Left to Live
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles held a press conference today in which he cited leaked information from the Maduro regime suggesting that the government has given the protest movement–which is now officially in its 60th day–eight more days. While Capriles was sparse on details, he did say that the order to put a definitive end to the protests came from Maduro itself.
They had a meeting. And in that meeting they agreed when it comes to the operation with the National Bolivarian Guard and the National [Bolivarian] Police. They’re coordinating they actions. They suggested that–under orders from Maduro–in eight days they are going to end the protests in the country. They’ve given orders to the [authorities] that there be no more protests. They’ve given that order to the military and to the police. In eight days, there should be no one protesting on the streets.
Capriles also said that the widespread reports of protests and reporters being robbed by official authorities as demonstrations is more than a symptom of the rampant crime afflicting the country: it’s part of a strategy to deter people from attending protests at all. He explained:
This is about harassing and attacking people, including journalists. Don’t be fooled: this is an order from inside the National Guard to rob you and everyone who is going to a protest of your phone, you watch, your belongings, your backpacks.
Capriles recommended that Venezuelans looking to participate in tomorrow’s protest actions do so by leaving all of their personal belongings at home before heading out.
NA Calls for US Probe Into Goldman Sachs Bond Purchase
The National Assembly has formally requested that the United State Congress investigate Goldman Sach’s surprise purchase of $2.8 billion worth of PDVSA bonds “for pennies on the dollar”. The transaction, which took place last week, had the effect of injecting at least $900 million into the Maduro regime’s coffers.
The purchase has put the financial firm on the defensive, given the optics of doing business with a dictatorial regime such as the one in Venezuela. Bloomberg reports that “at least two dozen protesters” demonstrated against the firm outside of its New York City headquarters this afternoon.
Goldman issued a statement on Monday in which it stressed that it did not purchase the bonds from the Venezuelan government directly, but rather through “second market”, and that it did not have any kind of contact with the regime on the matter.
National Assembly president Julio Borges reacted to Goldman’s assertions by saying:
As hard as it may try, Goldman Sachs … cannot put lipstick on this pig of a deal for Venezuelans.
Bloomberg reports that sources in the financial industry “familiar with Venezuelan debt” said that “there was no effective secondary bond market for the bonds in question“, suggesting that the transaction may indeed have involved the Venezuelan Central Bank through a front. The transaction occurred officially through the Dinosaur Financial Group.
Goldman bought the bonds at 31 cents on the dollar. A broker “deeply involved in trading Venezuelan securities” told Reuters that a “fair value” for the bonds is actually in the range of 44 to 46 cents on the dollar.
Note: I am travelling extensively until mid-June and will not be able to provide thorough daily updates until then. I apologize.
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