2019 Venezuelan protests
The 2019 Venezuelan protests are a collection of protests that have been organised, since 11 January, as a coordinated effort to remove Nicolás Maduro from the presidency. Demonstrations began following Maduro's controversial second inauguration, developing into a presidential crisis between Maduro and National Assembly president Juan Guaidó. The protests also include counter-demonstrations organised by those who support Maduro and have taken to the street to support him.
|2019 Venezuelan protests|
|Part of 2014–present Venezuelan protests and the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis|
|Date||10 January 2019– ongoing (100 days)|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
|Arrested||956 (at least 77 children)|
The Wall Street Journal reported in a March 2019 article entitled "Maduro loses grip on Venezuela's poor, a vital source of his power" that slums are turning against Maduro and that "many blame government brutality for the shift". Foro Penal said that 50 people—mostly in slums—had been killed by security forces in only the first two months of the year, and 653 had been arrested for protesting or speaking against the government.
Nicolás Maduro's inaugurationEdit
Many Venezuelans did not support the inauguration of Maduro, and held protests across the nation and in the capital city, Caracas. Several cacerolazos were reported across Caracas, including near to where Maduro was being sworn-in. Maduro supporters demonstrated separately. Before the inauguration, the opposition had called on the people to protest during the inauguration, with one protest co-hosted by students led by Rafaela Requesens and Guaidó's Popular Will party, blocking off a road near UCV.
Treated as a form of peaceful protest, several open cabildos were held in January 2019. The first of these was on 11 January, held by Guaidó. In the streets of Caracas people gathered to support him.
In anticipation of the protests on 23 January, other violent protests occurred. On 21 January there was a small-scale attempted military mutiny seen as a failed coup. There were 27 soldiers who kidnapped security and stole weapons, trying to march on Miraflores, who fought with and were apprehended by authorities in the early hours. People in the local area continued the fight, protesting and burning things in the street even as tear gas was deployed. Colectivos killed a non-protesting woman in her own doorway, and five others were injured.
On 22 January protests broke out in working-class Caracas neighborhoods, which until then had supported Maduro. These resulted in the death of a 16-year-old boy by gunshot. Other protests happened in the large Bolívar state, where three people were killed and a statue of Hugo Chávez set alight and broken in half before the head and torso were hung like a trophy from a public bridge.
Announced at the 11 January open cabildo, a series of protest marches drawing crowds which were reported by The Economist, The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Yeshiva World News from hundreds of thousands to millions of Venezuelans, 23 January protests – on the anniversary of the 1958 Venezuelan coup d'état that overthrew dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez – were the flagship event hoping to force Maduro to step down. United States Vice President Mike Pence sent a video of support to the nation on this day. Similarly, Juan Guaidó and his wife Fabiana Rosales sent separate videos to the military of Venezuela, asking for them to "not shoot at us".
Cofavic interviewed witnesses who said that special forces killed five youths who had attended protests supporting the opposition.
The Redes Foundation denounced in the Colombian Public Ministry that armed groups made up of National Liberation Army members and FARC dissidents, supported by the Bolivarian National Police and FAES officials, killed two Venezuelans, Eduardo José Marrero and Luigi Ángel Guerrero, during a protest in the frontier city of San Cristóbal, on Táchira state. Other protesters were injured during the shooting.
A few days later, Michelle Bachelet of the United Nations expressed concern that the violence during the protests could spiral out of control, and requested a UN investigation into the security forces' use of violence.
|Satellite images of a Guaidó rally on 2 February 2019, 11:05 AM VET|
|Satellite images of a Maduro rally on 2 February 2019, 11:05 AM VET|
On 2 February opposition demonstrations filled the Las Mercedes Avenue in Caracas. The theme of the protests was to demand the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela, with hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans participating to show support for Guaidó. According to La Patilla, which provided satellite images, Maduro supporters participated in smaller counter-demonstrations on the same day at the same time.
At least 285 were injured and 14 were killed in the clashes on 23 February 2019.
Guaidó "took to the streets" to question Maduro's governance during the first two days of a nationwide blackout. According to The New York Times, "Maduro did not address the nation and his public silence has fed the tension gripping Caracas".
Protests against Maduro in Caracas and other cities were called for 9 March, and went on despite the closure of the Caracas Metro and the lack of social media. The rally headed by Guaidó, took place near the presidential palace in Miraflores; The Washington Post labeled the manifestation as "unusual" as it was held in a sector usually associated with Maduro supporters. Heavy police presence blocked the streets with anti-riot shields.
During the second wave of nationwide blackouts, Guaidó summoned new protests that would precede Operation Freedom (Spanish: Operación Libertad), a decisive massive rally through Caracas. According to Guaidó, the goal of the protests is to increase political pressure, but rehearsals are needed as the operation cannot be organized "from one day to the next”.
Thousands of Venezuelans participated in a rally on 30 March, against the recurring blackouts. Guaidó toured around Miranda state and Caracas giving several speeches.Anti-riot police used tear gas against several opposition groups in areas where the Maduro supporters were active. Cacerolazos were reported in Caracas after blackouts resumed on Saturday night. The next day, protests against the lack of electricity and water occurred in Caracas and other cities. Some of the protests occurred close to the presidential palace. Maduro called again on the colectivos, asking them to “to defend the peace of every barrio, of every block”. Videos circulated on social media showing colectivos threatening protesters and shooting in the streets; two protestors were shot. On Sunday night, police fired at protesters after they set burning barricades.
On 6 April, rallies were called by Juan Guaidó in more that 300 points around the country. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans denounced the lack of electricity and protested against Maduro regime, who they hold responsible for the economic crisis. Guaidó met the protesters at the main rally in El Marqués district of Caracas. In Maracaibo, the second largest city of Venezuela, protests were dispersed by police forces with tear gas and rubber bullets. El Nacional reported how tear gas was thrown from helicopters. Two lawmakers were also briefly detained in Maracaibo.
Retired general Hugo Carvajal—the head of Venezuela's military intelligence for ten years during Hugo Chávez's presidency, who served as a National Assembly deputy for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and was considered a pro-Maduro legislator, "one of the government's most prominent figures"—said that Maduro orders the so-called "spontaneous protests" in his favor abroad, and his partners finance them.
At the end of January, a rally in support of Maduro, called by Venezuelan oil workers, marched through the streets of Caracas.
On 2 February, a counter-protest was held in the Bolivar Avenue, Caracas, in support of the Venezuelan government. The rally was held on the 20-year anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s first inauguration.
On 9 February, Venezuelan artists marched to commemorate popular singer and songwriter Alí Primera, as well as to reject what Venezuelanalysis described as an "ongoing US-backed attempted coup". The son of the singer explained that there is an artistic sector that is "fully conscious of its role in pursuing a cultural revolution" as well as the need to mobilize in "current circumstances".[better source needed]
On 10 February, thousands of Venezuelans queued to sign[unbalanced opinion?] an open letter denouncing "US-led foreign intervention". Journalist Javier Mayorca reported that the government prepared a campaign to "force police and military officers to sign the open letter". According to PROVEA, a group of police officers of the Mariño municipality of the Nueva Esparta state that refused to sign the document were arrested. Journalist Nitu Pérez Osuna reported complaints that "hundreds" of employees of the public television channel TVes were fired for refusing to sign the letter.[better source needed] On 17 February, two National Guardsmen were detained for refusing to sign the book "Hands Off Venezuela" and expressing their agreement with the entrance of humanitarian aid.
Maduro called a rival march on 6 April against Guaidó national rally. Thousands of protesters, mostly state workers, met at the center of Caracas. Maduro called for "understanding [that] we are in a true electrical emergency, a true national emergency.”
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Will this be the moment that Venezuelans finally reclaim their democracy? Millions dared to hope on Wednesday as they poured into the streets of Caracas and other cities to demand the resignation of dictator Nicolás Maduro in favor of the president of the National Assembly, 35-year-old Juan Guaidó.
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On January 23rd at least 1m Venezuelans from across the country took to the streets demanding Mr Maduro step down
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Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan opposition supporters poured into the streets on Saturday, heeding a call from their leaders to stage another day of peaceful protests against President Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian rule in hopes of capitalizing on international pressure to force him from power
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