Spontaneous protests broke out in the vicinity of the Miraflores Palace in Caracas this evening, as demonstrators burned tires and banged pots and pans to express their discontent with the Maduro regime. The protests appear to have been at least partially sparked by a power outage that affected the Altagracia neighbourhood of Caracas, which is located just two blocks from the presidential residence.
As is the case with the rest of the country, Caracas is plagued with daily blackouts due to years of mismanagement and corruption at the state-owned electrical utility company. The neighbourhoods adjacent to the Miraflores Palace have been without electricity for 24 to 36 hours.
The video below shows protests near a pile of flaming rubble at 7:40 PM Caracas time:
The video below was recorded at 7:52 PM. The man filming records a row of National Guard soldiers. The soldiers close ranks, raise their shields and appear to back away from the protests as they chant “queremos luz!” [“we want electricity!”]:
Protesters were still on the streets at 9:30 PM Caracas time. In the video below, protesters chant “queremos luz!” [“we want electricity!”] and “fuera Maduro!” [“Maduro out!”]:
Because the Miraflores Palace is the seat of power of the Maduro regime, protests near the site are almost unheard of. Even peaceful marches are prohibited from nearing the site. Just this morning, the authorities prevented a march by striking healthcare workers from reaching the Palace.
As the protest near the Miraflores Palace took place, another one in the city of Los Teques erupted. Below, a video showing a flaming barricade in the La Matica neighbourhood of Los Teques:
The image below shows National Guard soldiers on duty in Los Teques:
Gas Prices Could Go Up By 1.49 Million Percent by 2020
El Nacional reported today that the Maduro regime is considering increasing the price of gasoline to Bs. 90,000 per litre in the coming weeks, which would constitute a hike of 1,499,900%. The newspaper cited a source inside the government with knowledge of the plan.
According to the source, the price increase would take place in increments over the course of a year.
Venezuelans has historically enjoys the lowest gasoline prices on the planet, with one litre of 91 octane costing Bs. 6, or $ 0.000001 at the black market rate. Since the oil boom of the 1950s, Venezuelans have tended to view cheap gas prices as their patrimony.
The last time that a Venezuelan government proposed an increase in gasoline prices was in 1989. The announcement sparked a week-long wave of civil unrest that included widespread looting and rioting in Caracas. The unrest was eventually quelled, due in part to the indiscriminate use of deadly force against civilians by the Venezuelan military. Casualty figures are unreliable, but as many as 2,000 people may have been killed during the riots.
El Nacional cited a doctor who spoke to the newspaper on the possibility of the gas price increase. The doctor said:
I get paid Bs. 8,000,000 [$1.49 a month], which is nothing, and Maduro wants to increase [gas prices]. What can I do if they charge us for a litre of gasoline at international prices?
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