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Arrests in Venezuela following protests over swelling lines for basic goods

Tuesday, January 13th 2015 - 07:30 UTC
Full article 11 comments
President Nicolás Maduro, whose popularity has plunged, says right-wing agitators and Venezuela's elite are trying to topple him via an “economic war.” President Nicolás Maduro, whose popularity has plunged, says right-wing agitators and Venezuela's elite are trying to topple him via an “economic war.”
Venezuela is suffering from chronic shortages of goods ranging from diapers to flour. Scarcity has forced shoppers to line up in front of stores before dawn. Venezuela is suffering from chronic shortages of goods ranging from diapers to flour. Scarcity has forced shoppers to line up in front of stores before dawn.

At least a dozen protesters arrested in Venezuela remained in jail and masked assailants burned a bus overnight amid scattered unrest over swelling lines for basic goods, activists said.

 Police rounded up 16 people for protesting in front of stores over the weekend, according to the opposition MUD coalition, which said four of them were released shortly after. Rights group Penal Forum said 18 protesters were still behind bars on Monday. The government did not confirm the claim.

Venezuela is suffering from chronic shortages of goods ranging from diapers to flour that have worsened this year because of an ebb in deliveries during Christmas. The scarcity has forced shoppers across Venezuela to line up in front of stores before dawn.

The MUD also accused soldiers posted outside shops of banning photos of the lines, which sometimes snake around blocks.

“Not only is the government forcing people to get into humiliating queues ... it also wants the lines to be Cuban-style, silent and terrified,” said MUD chief Jesus Torrealba.

On Saturday, an explosive device was thrown into a building of the state phone company Cantv in southeastern Puerto Ordaz city, burning eight vehicles, the government said. In western San Cristobal, six masked men threw a Molotov cocktail into a parked bus belonging to a local university, students said.

While the scattered unrest is a far cry from massive demonstrations that rocked the country for four months in 2014, it comes amid growing frustration over the economic crisis.

President Nicolas Maduro, whose popularity has plunged, says right-wing agitators and Venezuela's elite are trying to topple him via an “economic war.”

“At the start of this year the parasitical oligarchy ambushed us but we and the people are responding,” he said at the weekend from Saudi Arabia.

In the last week Maduro and his closest ministers have visited China, Russia and other oil producing countries to seek financing and OPEC action on tumbling oil prices.

But Venezuela's opposition is fuming, “this is an emergency, it's not the time for photos of Maduro doing tourism in China,” said Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost a presidential election to Maduro in 2013.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Venezuela.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • BOTINHO

    Notice those empty shelves in the picture ?

    That will be the fate of China's $20 Billion loan: It will evaporate and disappear.

    Jan 13th, 2015 - 08:21 am 0
  • Klingon

    Part of it already has, to offshore accounts.
    I sense a bus crash coming soon.

    Jan 13th, 2015 - 08:40 am 0
  • zathras

    Of course it is everyone else's fault.
    Could not possibly be economic mismanagement by the lefty government.
    Or could it?

    Jan 13th, 2015 - 08:52 am 0
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