Caracas Protests: Three Dead, Maduro Warns of Miami Plans "To Fill Venezuela With Blood"
In Caracas, widespread street protests this week have left three dead, dozens injured, and President Nicolas Maduro's Chavista government looking for scapegoats. (Other than the nation's skyrocketing inflation, collapsing currency and stratospheric crime rate, of course.)
via YouTube Police cars burn near a prosecutor's office in Caracas on Wednesday.
Maduro has now issued an arrest warrant for the Harvard-educated opposition leader behind the protests and has blamed exiles abroad for plotting a coup, including the booming exilio capitals of Weston and Doral. Maduro specifically warned his supporters that there are "plans coming out of Miami to fill Venezuela with blood."
The latest unrest sparked on Wednesday when thousands marched in Caracas in the largest show of government opposition since Maduro won power last spring. The marches were largely peaceful, but turned ugly when crowds of young men lingered after the rallies and eventually broke windows at a prosecutor's office and set police vehicles on fire.
Police fought back and three people ended up dead (two protestors and one government supporter, according to state media.) Here's a glimpse of that chaotic scene:
The violence has spurred a crackdown on opposition from Maduro's government. Yesterday, he issued an arrest warrant for Leopoldo Lopez, the ex-mayor of a Caracas neighborhood.
Maduro, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, is never one to shy away from dramatic language about unrest in his country. He blamed a "Nazi fascist" faction in the opposition for the violence, while suggesting that enemies abroad were helping to foment a coup against his regime.
"We're facing an evolving coup d'etat, and the Bolivarean revolution will triumph," Maduro said on national TV.
Miami's Venezuelan enclaves are following the unrest by Twitter and local media, while Sen. Marco Rubio called for more U.S. support for the opposition.
"The world must wake up to what's happening in Venezuela as the government's unprecedented wave of repression is beating, jailing and even killing innocent Venezuelans, particularly its young people," Rubio said in a statement. "Courageous Venezuelans who want nothing more than a better future dictated by true democratic order deserve the American people's solidarity."