New Venezuela clashes erupt as Maduro seeks support in Cuba

Although anti-government campaigners have held similar rallies over the poor economic conditions in Venezuela in the recent past, the latest is said to be the first sustained wave of protests occurring across the country over the past 10 days. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for information, although Socialist Party officials tweeted that Maduro had been received by a cheering crowd in San Felix.

Critics said that numerous protesters were injured during the demonstrations. She also appealed to “security forces to operate in accordance with worldwide human rights standards for the management of assemblies.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Raad Zeid al-Hussein, has asked for an independent investigation into the death of Jairo Ortiz, 19, who died last week in Carrizal municipality in Miranda state on the outskirts of Caracas.

Red smoke wafts into the air as it rises next to tear gas fired by the Bolivarian National Police during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Although the decision was later reversed Venezuelans continue to protest what they see as a government steadily sliding toward authoritarianism.

The government has come under increased pressure from American and European countries that have condemned violence in Venezuela and the ban on Capriles. Government forces threw tear gas canisters from helicopters to deter protesters.

"All this violence is erupting because they won't let the people have their say via elections", said the speaker of the opposition-majority legislature, Julio Borges, as he hand-delivered a petition to the National Guard headquarters calling on police to "stop the repression".

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The anger escalated when news emerged that the national comptroller had banned politician Henriques Capriles from office for 15 years. Venezuelans have been suffering food and medicine shortages for months, leading many to skip meals or go without crucial treatment.

It said that Venezuelans have the right to demonstrate peacefully and "to see the political conflict immediately solved". The prosecutor's office said in a statement it was investigating the incident.

"Who is taking responsibility for damage to public property and persons?" said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino on Twitter, posting pictures of demonstrators kicking police officers and breaking into an office of the Supreme Court. "What is their agenda?"

The opposition, which also accuses Maduro of installing a dictatorship, is demanding the authorities set a date for postponed regional elections.

A smaller group later moved to the upscale Altamira district, a common site for protests during the last 15 years, where demonstrators set up barricades of tires and burning trash along a major avenue.

The violence in the streets seemed to intensify.

  • Darren Santiago