Mass Protest in Venezuela Demanding End of 'Dictatorship' | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Mass Protest in Venezuela Demanding End of 'Dictatorship'

Tens of thousands of demonstrators shut down Caracas' main highway

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Lilian Tintori, center, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, talkes part in a protest against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016.

    Anti-government protesters jammed the streets of Venezuela's capital on Wednesday on the heels of a decision by congress to open a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro, whose allies have blocked moves for a recall election.

    Tens of thousands of demonstrators shut down Caracas' main highway, and schools and shops were closed as protesters occupied other key points around the city to demand the ouster of Maduro, who many Venezuelans blame for triple-digit inflation and shortages of food, medicines and other basic goods.

    In other major cities protesters clashed with police in what opposition leaders were calling "the takeover of Venezuela."

    "Maduro has shown how scared he is that the people will express themselves," opposition leader Henrique Capriles said.

    Pence to Conservatives: 'This Is Our Time'

    [NATL] Pence to Conservatives: 'This Is Our Time'
    Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday evening in National Harbor, Maryland. It was the ninth time that Pence has spoken at the gathering, but the first in his new role as vice president.
    (Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2017)

    The protests come after electoral authorities blocked a recall campaign against the deeply unpopular president last week. The faceoff escalated on Tuesday when the opposition-led legislature voted to put Maduro on trial, accusing him of effectively staging a coup.

    Opposition legislators argued that Venezuela's leader has effectively abandoned the presidency by neglecting his job. Several also questioned whether he was a dual Colombian national and therefore ineligible to hold Venezuela's highest office — an old, unproven claim.

    Government supporters staged a much smaller rally attended by Maduro downtown

    Opposition leaders ended Wednesday's national day of protest with call for a general strike on Friday. They also threatened to march on the presidential palace in the heart of the city on Nov. 3 if the government doesn't reverse its decision to block the recall effort.

    The opposition has not been allowed to protest in front of the presidential palace since a massive march there helped precipitate a short-lived coup against former President Hugo Chavez in 2002.

    Police fired tear gas and clashes with police in provincial capitals that left several wounded. In the border state of Tachira, the windows of the heavily-guarded regional electoral office were broken and anti-government slogans spray-painted on the entrance. In a video widely circulating on social media, a young man shouted in the face of soldier in riot gear maintaining a line against a crowd of masked protester.

    "I'm going hungry! If you're going to shoot me because I'm hungry, shoot me," the protester said.

    Nationwide at least 140 people were detained by police, according to the Foro Penal human rights group.

    TV Snooping: What Your Tube Knows

    [NATL] TV Snooping: What Your Tube Knows
    Similar to internet ads that follow you while you are shopping, smart TVs can snoop on what shows you watch, what you search for, or even your daily television patterns.
    (Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2017)

    In Caracas, students casually sat on the country's main highway. One protester dressed as Lady Justice, with a scale and white blindfold.

    Victoria Rodriguez, 18, said she hopes to cast her first vote for the campaign to recall Maduro. A recent high school graduate, she said she feels like she's living in an emptying country; 15 of her 25 classmates have already left since graduating in July.

    She said she is frustrated that opposition leaders haven't called for more dramatic action, like sleeping on the highway overnight or attempting to paralyze the capital for days at a time.

    "People are tired of going to the streets and then going home," she said. "The opposition is letting the streets go cold. They are giving the government too much time to maneuver."

    Good Samaritans Save Boy From Sea

    [DFW-NATL] Good Samaritans Save Boy From Sea
    A South Korean family visiting Hawaii is grateful for the Good Samaritans who helped rescue their young son from rough waves on Oahu's North Shore.
    (Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017)

    Congress was expected to take up the issue of Maduro's responsibility for the country's worsening political and economic crisis Thursday. The result of that debate is unlikely to have much impact, however.

    Unlike other countries in Latin America such as Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in August, Venezuela's National Assembly can't impeach the president. That power lies with the Supreme Court, which has never voted against Maduro.

    Even as tempers flare, the government and opposition have agreed on an attempt at dialogue to defuse the crisis.

    Talks sponsored by the Vatican and other South American governments are set to begin Sunday in the Caribbean island of Margarita. Maduro, who met with Pope Francis privately at the Vatican on Monday, said he will travel to Margarita to personally launch the talks.

    'Father of the Selfie' Takes Self Portraits for 3 Decades

    [NATL] 'Father of the Selfie' Takes Self Portraits Every Day for 3 Decades
    Photographer Karl Baden takes self portraits for different reasons that any other person might. His life-long photography project "Every Day" was meant to document his aging, with the first photo taken on Feb. 23, 1987 three decades ago and a daily self portrait taken ever since. Baden, the "Father of the Selfie," says he intends to do the project for the rest of his life.
    (Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017)

    But the two sides have tried dialogue during previous crises, and the opposition has scant hope for a breakthrough. Although Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for their economic woes the ruling party is in firm control of institutions like the military and has shown no interest in yielding to the opposition.

    On Wednesday, Maduro convened a meeting of the heads of all the country's major institutions and said he lamented that Congress' President Henry Ramos had decided not to attend. Maduro went on to call for national unity.

    "I'm very sorry that the congress president continues to show contempt for the constitution, and doesn't want to enter into dialogue," he said. "I want everyone to behave reasonably and know that we are all Venezuelans."