After two months of anti-government protests where the demonstrations first began, the Venezuelan city of San Cristobal has been retaken under control by security forces. Prior to the reacquisition, many of the city’s roads were blocked by barricades as a result of the outbreaks. Nonetheless, the protests continue to expand into other cities, including the capital, Caracas.
Now, why did the civil unrest begin? On February 4th, 2014, students took to the streets of San Cristobal to protest against the alleged rape of a university student. Dozens of student leaders were arrested, and the uproar intensified as it made its way into Caracas, and was accompanied by other Venezuelan citizens who were displeased by the nation’s increasing homicide rates, exaggerated inflation, and constant shortages of staple foods.
In the span of this two month period, 39 people have been killed. But according to the head of the National Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command, there have not been any injuries or deaths when clearing the barricades in the avenues of Carabobo, Ferrero, Tamayo, and Espana.
With regard to the Tachira state, where San Cristobal is located, the governor of the area was pleased to welcome the operation. Governor Jose Vielma Mora from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela claims “the best present we can give to San Cristobal is the return of our children to school and of our good people to work.”
Regardless of the clearing, dissent remains as the mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos of the opposition Popular Will Party, was removed from office. He was also sentenced to 12 months in prison, resulting from his refusal to order the removal of the barricades. The Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Ceballos not only failed to fulfill public order, but also offered his support to groups partaking in violent protests.
To make matters even worse, or for lack of a better word, irrational, the Venezuelan government claims that “fascists,” alongside the assistance of foreign agents, are responsible for the unrest occurring in the nation. The demonstrations have not been this large for over a decade and protestors are not willing to stop until the government resigns.
Clarissa Garcia is a Staff Writer for Latino Giant. She is a college freshman currently Undecided at American University, but leaning to the Education field, looking into Secondary Education.
Source: BBC News