As food and medicine shortages continue, thousands of Venezuelans are taking to the streets to protest against Venezuela’s government.
As the movement continues to gain great traction, it is becoming increasingly deadly. On Thursday, a fifth protester was killed in eastern Caracas. Among the five killed includes a 13-year-old boy, who was shot dead on Tuesday during a protest in Barquisimeto. In the past week, dozens have been injured and, at least, one hundred more have been arrested.
While protests have erupted across Venezuela since 2014, unlike previous movements, where protests emerged in middle-class neighbourhoods, this wave of protests has sparked action from within poorer areas and slums, which have historically supported the socialist government.
Nicolas Maduro, the Socialist President of Venezuela continues to fight the efforts by the opposition party to topple his government. As the economy suffers deeply, Maduro’s Presidency has come under increasing pressure, as he has been accused of creating a dictatorship. He took power in 2013, after the death of former President Hugo Chavez of the United Socialist Party. The United Socialist Party has been in power in Venezuela for 17 years.
Venezuela’s inflation rate is the world’s highest. According to the International Monetary Fund, it expected to rise to a staggering 1660% this year. Oil accounts for 95% of Venezuela’s export revenues. These revenues were able to finance the extensive social programs enacted by the United Socialist Party. These policies were able to provide more than one million poor Venezuelans with homes. However, with falling oil prices, President Maduro is unable to maintain the support for his party as his predecessor had.
With that said, more protests are planned for the coming days. These will lead up to a large demonstration on April 19, which the opposition has deemed the ‘mother of all marches.’