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19F – The Night Venezuela Finally Imploded

Caracas Chronicles

Penned-in protesters in Altamira, awaiting their fate. Penned-in protesters in Altamira, awaiting their fate.

Tonight, Venezuela is seeing a spasm of violence that’s unlike anything the country has experienced since 1989. Information is fragmented, since an almost complete media black-out is in place, but you don’t need the media to hear your neighbor’s screams.

Caracas, Valencia, Merida and San Cristobal in particular have become virtual war zones: National Guard units and National Police have been shooting tear gas canisters and buckshot sometimes directly at protesters, sometimes into residential buildings and, raiding any place they think student protesters may be hiding. Alongside them, the government backed colectivos (basically paramilitary gangs on motorbikes, a tropical basij) shoot at people with live ammo.

But of course, this is no war zone: in a war zone you have two sides shooting at each other. Tonight one side is doing all the shooting, the other side is doing all the being shot at.

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