Venezuela's government said Thursday it was sending military units to the southwestern region of the country as protests against President Nicolas Maduro become increasingly violent.
The Wall Street Journal obtained this amateur video that shows a man left bleeding on a sidewalk in Caracas, Venezuela's capital city. At least five people have died since the protests began, including 22-year-old Venezuelan beauty queen and student demonstrator Genesis Carmona. She was reportedly shot in the head during a protest in Valencia Tuesday. She later died in a clinic Wednesday. (Via New York Daily News)
According to USA Today, Venezuela's interior minister said an airborne and an engineering batallion would be sent to Tachira to "restore public order." The writer says protesters there have paralyzed the city, but, "The use of the army marks an escalation of the conflict, which is presenting Maduro with his biggest political challenge since he was sworn in last April."
The demonstrators, who are mostly students, have been protesting against inflation, unemployment and rampant violence in the streets. One of their demands is for Maduro to resign. (Via Al Jazeera)
As Quartz reports, the mayhem in Venezuela has divided South America, with the leaders of some countries backing Maduro and others giving more reserved responses to the violent protests.
Leaders of Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina have all vocally supported Maduro. Leaders from Chile and Colombia have called for calm and peaceful dialogue. Maduro responded to the latter group saying, "Enough with others meddling in our internal affairs. Venezuela's problems will be resolved by Venezuelans."
Maduro has also turned his anger to the U.S., saying President Obama's public condemnation of the violence in Venezuela "presented a 'gross interference in internal affairs.'" (Via RT)
The Latin Times says Maduro wants outsiders to believe his country isn't in turmoil, which the paper speculates is part of the reason why he expelled three U.S. diplomats and is threatening to ban CNN.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan prosecutors dropped murder charges against leading opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez. He turned himself in to authorities earlier this week after an arrest warrant was issued on charges of inciting violence. (Via CNN)
USA Today reports the opposition has scheduled a protest march in Caracas on Saturday.
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