Five squadrons totaling more than one thousand officers of the National Guard and other police forces were deployed to protect the rights of residents in the face of violent protests that have shut down streets and transportation in the affluent area.
“We’re in full development of this operation, which was ordered by President Nicolas Maduro. Since 2:30am we’ve been deployed in five sectors along Francisco de Miranda Avenue”, Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez told state television on Monday morning.
“From this moment on, all the residents of Chacao can return to their lives and enjoy this beautiful municipality. [They can] once again walk in the afternoon, carry out their normal activities, go to class and open their businesses”, Rodriguez affirmed.
Traditionally an opposition controlled municipality, Chacao has been the site of the majority of street protests in the capital employed by right-wing extremists who have been calling for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro since early February.
Masked youth in the area have torched public and private property, attacked the city’s transportation vehicles, and shut down the main avenue of Francisco de Miranda, in attempts to destabilize the Venezuelan government.
Officials report that 60 buses had suffered damage as a result of the protests while 200 commuters and 36 metro workers were injured from the actions of the extremists.
The vandalism and aggression had been focused in area around Altamira Square – a public space in one of Venezuela’s wealthiest neighborhoods, which has served as a meeting place for the nation’s staunch opposition.
It was in the same Altamira Square where opposition backers, in 2002 and 2003, set up a makeshift base during an a lockout of the oil industry designed to topple the government of then President Hugo Chavez.
Monday’s operation saw the clearing of obstacles in the street and a wholesale cleaning of Altamira and its environs.
Public Transportation Returned To Normal
Venezuelan Ground Transport Minister Haiman El Troudi reported that the shutdown of public transportation in the area was enacted to protect workers, but service will now be resumed.
“Now, after having reestablished normalcy, we can once again begin to operate our routes to Altamira Square”, said El Troudi.
Many residents have thanked the government for the intervention and for restoring public order to the sector.
Susana Saaverda, a community member commented that there “had been no law” in the zone as a result of the protests.
“We couldn’t leave our houses and we couldn’t send our children to school, either”, Saaverda said.
Minister Rodriguez appealed to the opposition Mayor of Chacao, Ramon Muchacho, to ensure that tranquility and order to continue to reign in the capital district.
“We have recovered streets of the municipality for the enjoyment of everyone. We have made a formal entreaty to the mayor so that he take charge of the municipality and that he fulfills his obligations as stated in the constitution”, the interior minister stated.