Venezuela’s cities and towns were paralyzed today as citizens took to the streets in yet another trancazo, a relatively popular type of protest that involves “locking down” streets. The goal of a trancazo is to induce a nationwide work-stoppage by eliminating vehicular traffic on the country’s major roads.
The trancazo was announced yesterday during an opposition rally in Chacaito, Caracas. When the trancazo was announced, National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara told the crowd that the event would last two hours. The crowd responded negatively to the suggestion, and began to chant “Diez! Diez! Diez!” [“Ten! Ten! Ten!”], meaning that they wanted the protest to take place during ten hours.
Below, a video of the crowd chanting for a longer trancazo yesterday:
After considering the crowd’s enthusiasm, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) announced that the trancazo for today would last 10 hours.
Week Starts with Deserted Streets
The trancazo appeared to have its intended effect, as evidenced by images and videos shared by Venezuelans on social media throughout the day.
The Francisco de MIranda avenue in Caracas, a key artery that runs through the Chacao neighbourhood, was desolate aside from protesters at around 1:30 PM. Business were closed along the street and vehicular traffic was non-existent:
The short clip below, taken near the Milenium shopping mall in the neighbourhood of Los Chorros, Caracas, also shows empty streets:
In the neighbourhood of Santa Fe, Caracas, protesters erected barricades and essentially closed a normally busy road off to traffic:
The video below shows protesters on the street in the Francia Plaza in the neighbourhood of Altamira, Caracas:
The images below were likely taken in Maracaibo, Zulia state:
Clashes in Caracas Leave Unknown Number of Injured, Detained
In Caracas, protesters and National Guard soldiers clashed at several points of the city, including the neighbourhood of Las Mercedes and the area around the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) campus.
In the video below, National Guard soldiers fire tear gas at UCV students near their campus:
The video below shows a group of protesters running away from motorized National Guard soldiers. The soldiers run down a protester and take her into custody:
The image below captured the instant that the woman in the video above was caught by the soldiers:
The video below shows protesters repelling a National Guard armoured truck around the 5 de Julio bridge in Petare, Caracas:
16-Year-Old Shot Dead While Protesting in Valencia
A 16-year-old named Ruben Dario Gonzalez Jimenez was shot and killed during a protest in the La Isabelica neighbourhood of Valencia, in Carabobo state late this afternoon. While it is not yet clear who shot Gonzalez, journalists at the scene confirmed that he was killed by a firearm while protesting against the Maduro regime in La Isabelica’s Sector 5.
The city’s El Trigal neighbourhood also saw considerable protest activity through the day. The images below show desolate, barricaded streets in the area:
The video below shows Carabobo State Police officers knocking a man off his motorcycle in El Trigal. As the man runs away from the scene, an officer calmly steals his motorcycle:
The video below captured some of the chaotic clashes that took place in El Trigal:
Seven Soldiers Injured in Altamira IED Attack
Seven National Guard soldiers suffered burns during what appears to be an attack using an improvised explosive device (IED).
The event happened in the Altamira interchange of the Francisco Fajardo highway in Caracas in the early afternoon. An explosive device was detonated on the side of the road just as a group of National Guard soldiers on motorcycles slowed to take a turn.
The video below shows the moment that the device exploded:
The video below shows the same event from a different angle:
National Guard Commander General Sergio Rivero Marcano said that two of the injured soldiers suffered second-degree burns, while the other five suffered third-degree burns.
The injured soldiers were taken to a military hospital in the nearby Fuerte Tiuna military base to receive treatment.
Rafael Ramirez Confronted by Angry Venezuelan in New York City
A video showing an angry Venezuelan confronting Rafael Ramirez in a New York City restaurant made a splash on social media today.
As Ramirez (the elderly man with glasses in the video) stands up to the man, a small scuffle and much shouting ensues.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Man: … the 90 Venezuelans that have been killed in Venezuela because of people like you.
Man: [to Ramirez’s party] — and I’m sorry that [unintelligible].
Woman in Ramirez’s Party: You’re not going to bite me! He’s a diplomat. We’re going to call the police and you’re going to go to jail because he is a diplomat!
Man: He’s a murderer! Hey! Leave her alone!
Man: [To Ramirez]… what you’ve done to the country, and now you’ve got the balls to come and eat here!
Ramirez, who is currently the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, was the head of the state-owned PDVSA oil company from 2004 to 2014. During that time, the company brought in as many as one trillion dollars in oil sales from historically high prices.
Ramirez is suspected of having siphoned $11 billion from PDVSA during his time at the helm of the company.
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