Skip to main content

Protests, violence continue in Venezuela

By Radina Gigova, CNN
updated 10:32 PM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Students clash with riot police in Caracas as they protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Students clash with riot police in Caracas as they protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clashes continue in Venezuela
  • President Nicolas Maduro says he has a peace plan
  • Three people have been killed in Caracas violence

(CNN) -- Young Venezuelans unhappy with the ravaged economy, shortages and rising crime clashed again Friday with security forces who fired tear gas and water cannons.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters blocked traffic on a major highway in Caracas, days after three Caracas protesters died in violence.

The clashes, which have left dozens more injured or detained across the country, have exacerbated an already tense situation.

President Nicolas Maduro, in a nationally televised speech, announced Friday the launch of a "national plan for peace and coexistence."

Maduro said state and senior military officials will work together to reduce violence "from its bases," state media reported.

Authorities on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for an opposition leader on charges including conspiracy and murder in connection with recent clashes.

Leopoldo Lopez, head of Popular Will (known as VP after its initials in Spanish), remained free late Friday. He has accused the government of responsibility for violence during protests Wednesday.

"They won't divide us," Lopez tweeted Friday.

Maduro was elected in April after President Hugo Chavez's death from cancer. He has presided over a sharp decline in living standards and has failed to stem rising violent crime.

Maduro insists he is facing a slow-motion coup.

"I want to alert the world. We are facing a developing coup plan against the democracy and the government that I preside over, orchestrated by a small group of irresponsible leaders, violent, full of hatred and personal ambitions," he said Wednesday.

The U.S. State Department expressed concerns about the state of affairs in Venezuela.

"We are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding this February 12 protest and by the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez," said spokeswoman Marie Harf. "We join the secretary general of OAS (Organization of American States) in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the death of peaceful protesters."

Inflation, at 56.2%, is the highest in the world and many basic goods are missing from the shelves. Amid stringent price and exchange controls, Venezuela is running out of hard currency to pay foreign suppliers of goods and services.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT