A 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked Venezuela this afternoon at approximately 4:31 PM local time, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake’s epicenter was located in the country’s northeast, some 20 kilometers from the town of Yaguaraparo, and took place at a depth of 123 kilometers.
The Fundacion Venezolana de Investigaciones Sismologicas [Venezuelan Foundation for Seismic Investigations], the Venezuelan equivalent of the USGS, measured the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.3
The earthquake was powerful enough to be felt in Caracas, with reports on social media of tremors also being felt as far away west as Barquisimeto.
In Caracas, the earthquake was strong enough to force the swimming pool atop the Pestana hotel to spill over the building’s side:
While there are no reports of casualties so far, social media users have posted images and videos of light damage to buildings in Caracas.
The video below, apparently from a security camera inside a home, captured the earthquake as it was felt in Caracas:
The images below show what appear to be pieces of a building that came down during the earthquake in Caracas:
The video below was recorded in Monagas state, which is located much closer to the earthquake’s epicenter than Caracas:
Earlier, Country Paralyzed by General Strike
Cities and towns awoke this morning to an unusual calm as Venezuelans throughout the country heeded a call from the opposition to stay home today as a sign of protest against the Maduro regime and its latest economic reform package. The general strike, which was originally announced last week, is the largest protest action taken against the regime in months.
Starting in the early morning hours, news organizations and social media users alike started sharing images and videos of empty streets and closed businesses around the country.
In the video below, a journalist with the Caraota Digital website drives along the Francisco de Miranda avenue in Caracas. Normally buzzing with activity, the avenue was home to closed businesses this morning:
The images below show more streets in Caracas this morning with little anemic and pedestrian traffic:
Residents of Barquisimeto, Lara state also appear to have largely heeded the calls for a general strike today. The images below show the area around the Pedro Leon Torres and Carrera 19 roads this morning:
The video below shows closed businesses in Maracay, Aragua state this morning:
Public transportation operators also participated in the general strike, leaving commuters who attempted to venture out onto the streets today stranded. The picture below shows commuters in the Chacaito neighbourhood of Caracas waiting for buses:
A similar scene in the Casanova area of the capital:
Colombia Says National Guard Helicopters Entered Terrirotry
The government of Colombia claimed today that two Venezuelan National Guard helicopters entered its territory on Sunday, August 19. Bogota claims that the incursion took place over the Tibu municipality in the Norte de Santander department.
The Minister of Foreign Affair claimed that the two helicopters briefly landed in Colombia, and that approximately 30 National Bolivarian Armed Forces soldiers disembarked from the the two aircraft.
It is not clear at this moment why the incursion took place.
Bogota has filed a formal complaint with the Venezuelan embassy over the matter.
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