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Fresh street battles as Venezuela protest death toll hits 39 (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Published time: April 01, 2014 09:21
Edited time: April 01, 2014 11:03

Anti-government set a barricade on fire during a protest, in Caracas on March 31, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

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The death toll of the violent protests that have shaken Venezuela for the last month and a half has reached 39. To avoid “civil war”, the country’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has called for dialogue with the opposition.

Clashes erupted once again in the Venezuelan capital on Monday night, as hooded activists erected barricades on the streets of Caracas, causing massive disruption. Protesters smashed shop windows and set fire to cars before the riot police arrived and dispersed them using tear gas and water cannons.

Elsewhere in the west of Venezuela violence was reported in the cities of Maracaibo and San Cristobal, killing two people and bringing the total death toll in Venezuela to 39. One protester was electrocuted in San Cristobal while trying to reinforce a barricade, and another died in Maracaibo when a homemade explosive device detonated in his hands before he could throw it at police.

Anti-government activists clash with riot police during a protest, in Caracas on March 31, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

Protests have been held throughout Venezuela for the past month and a half, with the population frustrated over inflation, mass power cuts and a lack of basic goods. The Venezuelan government claims that the largely peaceful protest movement has been hijacked by extremist, right-wing, political elements backed by the US, whose aim is to ouster President Nicolas Maduro.

On Monday, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua called for dialogue with the opposition to avoid the threat of civil war. He told the private channel, Globovision, that there was an element of the opposition loyal to the United States that is pushing for an armed conflict.

A National Guard member shoots during anti-government protest, in Caracas on March 31, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

“The president has said: ‘let’s negotiate without conditions, without preconceived agendas to stop this irrational violence that has killed almost 40 men and women,’” said Jaua, adding the Venezuelan government is waiting for a gesture of goodwill from the opposition.

The US has denied any involvement in the mass protests in Venezuela and has accused Maduro’s government of using Washington as a scapegoat. Last week US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson said that the US had not ruled out the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Latin American country. She said financial penalties could become an “important tool” in pressuring Maduro into negotiations with the opposition.

A water cannon of the national police burns after being hit with Molotov cocktails thrown by anti-government protesters during riots in Chacao district in Caracas March 31, 2014. (Reuters / Christian Veron)

In response, the Venezuelan government accused Washington of meddling in Venezuelan affairs and “ignoring the democratic process.”

Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors have also rallied in support of Maduro’s government. Uruguayan President Jose Mujica told the press on Monday that the US should respect Venezuela and let it find its own way out of the current crisis.

"The first thing that Venezuela and all of Latin America needs is to be respected,” said Mujica. “When the whole world urges the US to rescind its embargo policy on Cuba, voices in Washington threaten sanctions on Venezuela. Have they learnt nothing from history?”

Riot policemen protect themselves from molotov cocktails thrown by anti-government activists during a protest, in Caracas on March 31, 2014. (AFP Photo / Juan Barreto)

Comments (36)


Maire 26.04.2014 09:46

HawaiianNeal 26.04.2014 01:10

US companies are THRIVING in Ve, regardless of what you see in the press.


Ha haha, false. I work for an american company here and they are rapidly leaving the country along with many other american companies because they are not getting paid. While I am lucky enough to go back home when my company does close all of my coworkers will be without a job in a country where finding a job is very difficult. I can understand why college students are in the streets. There is no future for them after school.

But that is just one industry and point of view.


Silvana 04.04.2014 12:49

since Chavez he said no more back to the people FREE EDUCATI0N, FREE HEALTH, where were they for the last 100 years or more before Chavez? Chavez didnt allow the transnationals to come and robb Venezuela and her people! Which is why he was assasinated!. Venezuela is a sovereign country Chavez made sure of that and the Venezuelan people will defend that! Chavistas are peaceful people remember that we want peace!


Marcio Flavio 02.04.2014 17:20

sra. Victoria, se vc não for à luta, com os teus, (não digo luta armada, mas luta pela vida), independentemente de seus 18 anos de estudos, a sra. consiga resolver seus problemas de moradia, de alimentação, de mobilidade, e também de acesso à uma "vida boa". Nâo adianta esperar de governos, de nenhum estado, seja ele autodenominado "democrático&q uot; ou não, o reconhecimento de suas necessidades primárias... estados estão preocupados somente (e tão somente) com a sua própria segurança e sobrevivência, seja ele EE UU,, Brasil ou Venezuela, ou europeus, árabes e asiáticos... cuidado com os auto-enganos!

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