Foes of Venezuela’s Chavez Caused Destruction, two More Deaths in Saturday Riots

Two more people resulted dead at road blockades set up by opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last Saturday. Opponents plan to distribute liquor and weapons at demonstrations

Opposition demonstrators attack Chavez’s party local headquarters on feb. 27. Local private media and opposition politicians defined the protest as “peaceful”, and blamed National Guard troops for the violence.  

Caracas, Venezuela. Feb 29 ( Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blocked roads and burned tires in different parts of Caracas last night to pressure electoral authorities into approving a recall referendum on the President’s mandate.

Two people were reported dead, and several wounded, as no effort to restore order was made by local police forces under control from mayors of opposition parties in Caracas municipalities.

Last Friday, one person died and more than 30 were wounded as demonstrators clashed with National Guard troops protecting foreign delegations attending the G-15 Summit.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council was expected to announce today the result of the counting of signatures collected to demand the recall of President Chavez and National Assembly deputies from government-supporting parties and from the opposition. The announcement was suspended until Monday.

Opposition demonstrators set up roadblocks in eastern Caracas on Feb. 28. Opposition-controlled police did nothing to restore order. Two people resulted dead at the roadblocks.

Two more deaths

In Los Cortijos, a middle-class neighborhood in eastern Caracas, a driver frustrated by the road blockade in the area, was attacked by rioters with bottles and sticks. The driver responded by firing shots, killing 28-years old bystander Nercy Rodriguez.

In La Urbina, another middle-class neighborhood in eastern Caracas, a neighbor was killed by anti-Chavez demonstrators after he complained about the roadblocks.

Last Thursday, an opposition demonstration seeking to march to the building where delegations from 15 countries met as part of the G-15 summit, ended into violence. National Guard troops guarding the foreign delegations fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators. One person resulted dead and unconfirmed reports indicate that a baby may have also died as a result of the great amount of tear gas used to defend the security perimeter.

Opposition demonstrators set up roadblocks in eastern Caracas on Feb. 28. Opposition-controlled police did nothing to restore order. Two people resulted dead at the roadblocks.

The opposition coalition Coordinadora Democratica called all Chavez opponents to “take the streets” and not recognize the authority of election officials. The opposition claims that the decision to ask people listed in petitions with irregularities to reconfirm their signatures will result in the recall referendum not being approved.

Liquor and weapons for opposition demonstrators

Last night, a recent recording of opposition leaders listing new plans to generate chaos, was broadcast during a talk show in the state TV station Venezolana de Television. The Chavez opponents celebrated the clashes with National Guard troops and claimed that they managed to sabotage the G-15 Summit. The anti-Chavez leaders also claimed that liquor will be distributed during other anti-Chavez demonstrations in order to get people “charged-up”.

“People are still too passive,” said anti-Chavez leader Ricardo Koseling, one of the persons featured in the recordings, who complained that protesters didn’t go far enough during their confrontation with National Guard troops. Koseling, who commanded a group of protestors that tried to break the security perimeter, said that weapons ought to be distributed to opposition demonstrators, and that some shots should be fired at National Guard troops.