Socialist President Nicolas Maduro was humiliated over the weekend when he visited the town of Villa Rosa. Venezuelans tired of the “Maduro diet” and spending dozens of hours a week waiting in lines for food chased him down a street banging pots and pans. The next day, a journalist who helped spread the story was arrested. The Telegraph reports:
Grainy cell phone videos said to be of the Friday night encounter have been picked up by Venezuelan news sites and are trending on social media. Mr Maduro is seen jogging through a crowd as residents loudly bang on pots and hurl obscenities…
Richard Fermin, the opposition mayor of Asuncion, the island’s capital, accused Mr Maduro of “mistreating” a woman with whom he appeared to tussle in the midst of the protest, reportedly grabbing her pot from her hands.
This is a type of protest known as a “cacerolazo.” Video of the incident was highlighted by opposition leader Henrique Capriles:
Así fue el cacerolazo que le dió el Pueblo a Maduro en Margarita,allí lo ven pasando! pic.twitter.com/6kMwTLzIz7
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) September 3, 2016
Local journalist Braulio Jatar reported on the incident soon after it happened Friday night. Fusion reports he was arrested the next day:
Shortly after the spontaneous protest happened, Jatar began to conduct interviews with local residents and published photos and videos of the incident on his website, Reporte Confidencial. The following day he was arrested by Venezuelan police as he headed to a local radio station for his Saturday program. According to family members, Jatar was not allowed to contact anyone for nine hours after his arrest, as the police denied they even had him in custody.
The family eventually learned what had happened to Jatar when police showed up and searched his home. On Monday he was charged with money-laundering after police claim they found large amounts of cash in his car. From Fusion:
Jatar’s family says the money was planted. His niece, New York-based comedian Joanna Haussman, who does videos for Flama, claims her uncle is the latest political prisoner in Venezuela. According to the Venezuela Penal Forum, a human rights group, the country already has 92 political prisoners.
There were multiple reports of Venezuela denying reporters the right to cover a major protest of Maduro that took place in Caracas last week. Maduro’s regime is refusing to schedule a referendum being pushed by the opposition party which could remove him from office.