Venezuela election day turns violent, leaves ten dead

In a wave of bloodshed, ten have been killed in the last 24 hours of the Venezuela protests. The protests turned violent during the elections to choose members of the all-powerful new legislative body that is supposed to reform the country’s constitution. According to an Indian Express report, protesters had swarmed the streets and attacked polling stations, which drew fire from the security forces.

The shootings left a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old in the western state of Tachira, as well as a soldier and a 30-year old regional leader of a youth opposition party, taking the total death toll over the last four months to 120, reported Al Jazeera. Many more protesters with bullet wounds were moved to Colombia for treatment. The national guard troops were deployed to disperse the protesters and used armoured vehicles, rubber bullets and tear gas.

AFP quoted senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles saying “We do not recognize this fraudulent process,” at the close of voting on Sunday. The opposition has boycotted the elections, calling it a method to consolidate unpopular president Nicolas Maduro’s power. Since his election in 2013, he has faced months of protests of economic crises and food shortages.

The United States has condemned the violence, calling it a sham and urged neighbouring countries to take action against those who “undermine democracy, deny human rights.”

 

Sources: Indian Express, Al Jazeera

 

Attack on Venezuelan Supreme Court through police helicopter

A Venezuelan Police helicopter which was seen hovering over the internal ministry and Supreme Court building, launched grenades at the latter which fortunately failed to detonate, on the evening of June 27, 2017, in what is being called an attack by “terrorists”, according to a statement  given by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on state-run TV channel.

The video, the first proof of incidence, capturing the movement of the helicopter over the two government buildings is being incessantly circulated over the internet. In another video, Oscar Perez, who worked as a Captain in a governmental investigative and intelligence body, is seen with four other armed men, who are said to be the conspirators behind the attack, according to a report by Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.

The country has been witnessing protests from several months, from the opposition as well as citizens, in which 75 people have died, as reported by The Independent. The government is in the process of exercising even more power over the opposition-run Congress by rewriting the National Charter, for which the voting is scheduled to be held on July 30.

The Socialist President has clearly issued a warning against his opponents saying, “We would never give up, and what couldn’t be done with votes, we would do with weapons, we would liberate the fatherland with weapons.”

Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters

Venezuela erupts, demanding president’s impeachment

Opposition alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) took to the streets of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, demanding removal of President Nicolas Maduro. The turnout of people reached 1 million, and is probably the biggest display of mass dissent against the ruling socialists.

The protestors named the march “Tom de Caracas” (Taking over Caracas), although they assured o a peaceful protest. Most of them were white clad, carrying their national flag and chanting “It’s going to fall, it’s going to fall, the government is going to fall.”

The government was prepared for violence going by past experiences, and even termed the march as a ‘coup d’etat’. Several protestors were jailed, as the city turned into a fortress, fearing bloodshed.

The situation went out of control as the rally ended, when a group of dissenters squared off with the police throwing rocks. Tear gas was used to dispel crowds followed by arrests.

Jesus Torrealba, the opposition leader, shared the blueprint for further protests, post rally. A nationwide pot-banging activity has been called for along with two other major protests. One of them has been scheduled on September 14, which coincides with the pouring of heads of states for the summit on Non-Aligned Movement.

Two prominent activists, Yon Goicoechea, along with Carlos Melo were also detained earlier this week. Journalists too, were not spared the government’s wrath, as around six journalists, who came to cover the turmoil, got deported.

Source: TOI , The Globe and Mail

Venezuela, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia freeze oil production

 

Earlier today, in a short agreement in Qatar, Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar said that they would not increase exceed crude-oil production beyond January’s highest production. They agreed upon this as long as long as major oil companies followed suit. This is the first coordinated step towards increasing oil prices. This decision implies the need for Iran and Iraq to halt production too.

Iraq’s oil production in the past has beaten records with the country producing untiringly to generate revenue for the fight against the Islamic state. On the other hand, Iran is trying to increase output given that the western sanctions over the nuclear program have ended.

Saudi’s Oil Minister Ali al- Naimi explained that maintaining the prices at January’s level is adequate as gyrations in prices is not desirable. He further added that the aim is to meet demand and maintain a steady oil price.

Analysts believe that the pact is a step in the right direction. However, they believe that global inventories are close to record levels and any lobbying towards a stable price will be dampened.

 

Sources: Wall Street JournalBloomberg.