Tens of thousands protest Venezuelan dictatorship

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets Thursday to protest the socialist dictatorship of President Nicolas Maduro. The protests follow a decision last week by the socialist-aligned Supreme Court to take over the duties of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. That decision was quickly reversed under pressure from the opposition and from Venezuela’s neighbors which viewed the decision as crossing a line toward dictatorship. However, the decision sparked anger which hasn’t subsided yet. From Reuters:

Thousands of people blocked a main Caracas highway on Thursday, chanting “Out with Maduro!” and “No more dictatorship!” and vowed to march to the office of the state ombudsman, the government’s principal human rights advocate.

“The human rights advocate has to stop being the Socialist Party advocate!” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said in an online broadcast as he marched wearing a hat in the Venezuelan colors of yellow, red, and blue…

The opposition is demanding the removal of seven Supreme Court justices who signed last week’s decision. Maduro critics accuse the government of stalling elections for state governors, which polls suggest would not go well for the ruling Socialists.

There have been massive street protests in Venezuela before and nothing has changed. However, the situation is far more desperate now than it was in 2015. Crime and scarcity of food and medicine have given the protests a new urgency. People are literally starving and have turned to eating stray dogs and cats to survive.

Mery Santiago, a 60-year-old accountant, tells the Washington Post, “I’m tired of being scared. Almost every month I get robbed, and I can’t stand it anymore.” And 18-year old student Jose Noguera says his grandfather died, unable to find treatment for cancer. Noguera tells the Post, “I hope this time people will actually stay in the streets until we see a real change.”

Some video and images from today’s protests:

This CNN report is from 2 weeks ago: