Reuters reporting: A large group of protestors has been fired upon with teargas for chanting “We want food!” near Caracas’ presidential palace on Thursday, the latest street violence in the crisis-hit OPEC nation.
Angry Venezuelans heading toward Miraflores palace in downtown Caracas were blocked by National Guard troops and police on the road.
Acknowledging the fact that the South-American nation of 30 million is starving, President Nicolas Maduro issued a statement in which he claims he’ll address a rally of indigenous groups nearby around the same time.
Some people tried to hijack a food truck on their way to the palace.
“I’ve been here since eight in the morning. There’s no more food in the shops and supermarkets,” one woman told pro-opposition broadcaster Vivoplay. “We’re hungry and tired.”
The government blames the opposition for spreading the chaos but believe security forces have the situation under control.
The problem comes from the Venezuela’s reliance on oil supplies, the biggest in the world, and not being able to or not wanting to bolster economic development in other areas. Hence the severe shortages of consumer goods ranging from milk to flour, soaring prices, and a shrinking economy.
Maduro blames the fall in global oil prices and an “economic war” by his foes, whom he also accuses of seeking a coup.
“Every day, they bring out violent groups seeking violence in the streets,” he said in a speech at the indigenous rally, which went ahead near Miraflores later in the day. “And every day, the people reject them and expel them.”
The government’s top economic official, Miguel Perez, acknowledged the hardships Venezuelans were undergoing but promised the situation would improve.
“We know this month has been really critical. It’s been the month with the lowest supply of products. That’s why families are anxious,” he told local radio.
“We guarantee things will improve in the next few weeks.”
By Stefan Paraber for GIA