There are many cities in Venezuela marked by a new black color on the streets. It is the ash from burning tires and garbage that defines the most common method of protesting.
Venezuela has become the scene of the largest opposition protests against the government since the last election campaign. Citizens have organized several protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government and in recent days, alarming conflicts between protesters and police have occurred. Thousands of demonstrators from all over the country have burnt cars and tires.
Demonstrators have diverse demands, from social to economic. One of the protesters, Maria Alejandra, age 22, stated, “we are only demanding better security in our universities and cities… There has been a rise in violent crimes… where is our freedom of speech?” Citizens have also been protesting against unemployment and the recent detention of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader. In addition, there are complaints about food shortages and economic crisis in general.
The violent protests that have overwhelmed the main cities of Venezuela, in defiance of the socialist government of the South American nation, started on February 4 of the present year with an incident that took place at the university campus “Universidad de Los Andes” in San Cristobal, Tachira state. The trigger was an attempted rape against a young undergraduate female.
Many students that were furious with the facts emphasized strong concerns about the failing security system during the administrations of President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. The students took the streets in a peaceful way, but repression and detention of protesters were the reason behind the rise of temperature of the marches.
“The protests have become extremely violent. After 5 protesters were detained for no reason, more people have joined [the protests] originating more chaos… it has gotten to the point that I haven’t been sending my children to school over the past week…” mentioned Elizabeth, a citizen of Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Along with demonstrations of opposition, there has also been a pro-government demonstration with several marches in Caracas and other cities. So far the protests and riots have left at least 8 dead and 137 injured, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Many citizens are blaming Venezuela’s government, which is led by President Nicolas Maduro, for all the problems the nation is facing. While, Maduro and several other officials attribute the blame to the opposition for the security issues.
Moreover, protests in Venezuela are having resonance worldwide. Countries like Bolivia and Argentina communicated full support to President Nicolas Maduro. On the other hand, according to NBC News, U.S. diplomats expressed concern about the climate of tension in the country and suggested that the problem should be resolved through dialogue.