NOTE: As of the publishing of this post (10:30 PM EST time), the Maduro regime appears to be poised to denounce the carrying out of an attempted coup d’etat. There are reports coming from Caracas showing frantic military activity around the Miraflores Presidential Palace. Earlier in the day, a pro-regime paramiltiary group attempted to force their way into the National Assembly while the legislature was in session.
I will cover these events in a second post, which will come later tonight.
Maracay, the capital of Aragua state, descended into chaos as night fell over the city, following a full day of unrest and clashes between anti-regime demonstrators and security forces.
The video below shows a flaming barricade in the San Jose sector of the city. Pots and pans can be heard banging in the distance, a form of protest called cacerolazo in Venezuela:
The video below shows a frantic crowd looting a supermarket in the southern part of the city shortly before midnight:
The video below shows more looting in the city last night:
The looting lasted into daybreak this morning. The two videos below were taken in the early morning hours today:
Other parts of the city awoke this morning to relative calm, with the chaos of last night evident still on many streets:
17-year-old Left Brain Dead After Being Shot During Protest
A 17 year old high school student named Jose Figuera is brain dead after being shot in the head during a protest in the municipality of El Limon, Aragua state last night.
Figuera’s was first reported to have died earlier today, but the media subsequently corrected the story and clarified that he was brain dead. National Assembly deputy for Aragua state Melva Paredes, who also said that Figuera was a student at the Mario Briceño Iragorry high school.
Paredes also said that Figuera was shot by a mixed group of National Bolivarian Police officers and inmates at a local jail. According to Paredes, police at the jail “recruited” help from the inmates to suppress a nearby protest by temporarily releasing them from their cells and giving them weapons, which they then used to fire at protesters.
200+ Arrested in Maracay Looting
El Nacional reported today that at least 216 people have been arrested in connection with the widespread looting that broke out in the city of Maracay, the capital of Aragua state, through the overnight hours. The looting affected at least 68 businesses in the city.
Caryl Bertho, the mayor (PSUV) of Maracay, said that opposition “shock troops” also attacked government buildings, including the regional headquarters of the CANTV telecommunications company and two PSUV offices.
Below, an image of the PSUV headquarters in Parque Aragua this morning after having been torched last night:
Below, a video of the damage to the same building:
At the same time, opposition National Assembly deputy Dinorah Figuera made an observation that has become common in opposition circles following outbreaks of looting having to do with the apparent lack of security forces to even attempt to stop the unrest. Figuera said:
It’s interesting that wherever there was looting the security forces were absent (…) These were acts that took place with the complacency of regional authorities.
Journalists March to CONATEL Headquarters in Caracas
Journalists and supporters marched together in Caracas today to mark Dia del Periodista [Journalists’ Day] in Venezuela. The Colegio Nacional de Periodistas [National Journalists’ College] (CNP) led the march in the capital today, which had as its destination the headquarters of the Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones [CONATEL], the state-owned telecommunications regulator.
During the day’s events, the head of the CNP, Tinedo Guia, presided over a special ceremony in memory of Miguel Castillo, a 27-year-old journalist who was killed during an anti-regime protest in Caracas on May 10.
During a televised interview that aired on the Globovision network, Guia spoke highly of Venezuela’s journalists, saying that they should be celebrated because:
… [of their] eagerness, bravery and ethic [and because] they cover events every day that give citizens information so that they may make their own decisions.
The Dia del Periodista is celebrated in Venezuela on June 26 each year to mark the first edition of the Correro del Orinoco in 1818. The newspaper was founded by Simon Bolivar during the War of Independence.
Maduro Promises War to “Liberate the Fatherland”
During a speech at a PSUV event held today, Maduro told listeners that the PSUV would take up arms against anyone who removed him from power, even if they did so through elections.
Maduro: I hope that the world will listen to this after 90 days of violence, destruction and death. If Venezuela is overcome with chaos and violence, and if the Bolivarian Revolution were destroyed, we would go to war. We will never surrender. If we can’t do it with votes, we’ll do it with weapons. We would liberate the fatherland with our weapons!
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