Venezuela: update with your questions
Today has been a relatively quiet day. But that's because it had been one heck of a night. Even Nextdraft, notable news newsletter, commented it today. (Do subscribe, it's invaluable. Really. http://www.nextdraft.com.)
- •Twelve people got killed in one dayThese are my nominees for the Darwin awards: eight were killed pulling the high voltage cable attached to the refrigerator in the bakery they were trying to loot. Another one died defending his store from looters. Two more were shot in protests on other areas. The last one was shot in unknown circumstances.
- •Confrontations extended up to beyond 2 amIn at least four places in Caracas. Three in the west. All lower class neighborhood --the "people" who supposedly support the government.
- •An ex mayor has a disastrous Periscope sessionFreddy Bernal, former mayor of the largest municipality in Caracas, decided on his own volition to hold a Periscope session to say that everything was normal. This while looting was strong, and repression was even worse. Including in one area where they had to evacuate a hospital --a CHILDREN'S hospital-- because patients, most of them babies, were choking on gases and smoke. The amount of insults he got, it just... made me smile.
- •Tomorrow, it's a Silent MarchIn every state, it's a march towards the Episcopal Conference headquarters in each state. (The Catholic church is the most respected organism here.) In Caracas, it's in the west. Deep west.
- •Is there anything else you want to know?I'll try and answer as much as I can.
- •What makes the West part of town significant?You mention it in each update.
- •It has long been touted the Goverment strongholdCaracas (population close to 4 million) is divided into five municipalities. Libertador, which occupies north and west, is the largest and with the most inhabitants (2.237 million). It's the only one with a government-backed mayor, and most of the government offices, certainly the Presidential Palace. To have so many protests happening there means the Government has basically lost its primary base. It would be like Trump being booed out of Alabama.
- •Are there any credible English language sites or journalists we gringos can visit to stay current on the news?
- •Caracas ChroniclesThis is mostly political analysis, but they are great at keeping up to date. http://www.caracaschronicles.com Also follow AP's correspondent Hannah Drier (twitter.com/hannahdrier) and the NYT's Nick Casey (twitter.com/caseysjournal).
- •Are the protestors organized by a group that could conceivably govern, if successful and getting the current government to stand down?
- •Sigh...At this point, I'd settle for anyone who isn't a Chavez supporter in power. The short answer is yes, there are quite capable people in opposition (full disclosure: I work for one of them). But we've had a complicated relationship with them before. Many have seemed too distant, too sleazy or too incompetent. And there is way, WAY too much inclination to turn someone into a Messiah. So it would be back to the old ways, where Chavez was almighty, but with someone from opposition parties.