Things That Matter

Venezuela Marches Turns Violent, Protesters Killed And Gassed

@donaldobarros / Instagram

Opposition leaders in Venezuela organized what they call the “mother of all protests” on April 19 and thousands of Venezuelans took to the street in solidarity against the Maduro government. Venezuela has experienced violent clashes between citizens and police for two days and Venezuelans protest what many are calling a dictatorship. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro tried to undermine the opposition’s protest by forming his own pro-Maduro rallies. It wasn’t long before the protest turned violent as police shot tear gas into the crowd. So far, there have been two confirmed deaths, both anti-Maduro protesters. Here’s what we know so far about what is happening in Venezuela.

Venezuelans have taken to the streets again to demand a change in government.


On the 207th anniversary of their independence from Spain, Venezuelans are fighting for their freedoms again from the Maduro-led United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The South American country has been embroiled in protests for three weeks after the Supreme Court attempted to strip the opposition-filled National Assembly of power.

Armed Maduro supporters and police officers have instigated violence against the protesters to stop the protests.


April 19’s protests added to the death toll, with a total of 7 protesters being killed on the streets for protesting Maduro’s government the past three weeks. The streets of Caracas, the capitol, were filled with thousands of protesters who marched from 26 different parts of the city in hopes of reaching the Ombudsman’s office in downtown Caracas. Police, like all the other times protesters tried to reach the office, blocked the path and met protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The mounting international and national pressure has started to spark some changes in the Maduro government.


The Supreme Court reversed its decision to strip the National Assembly of their power and now Venezuelans want fresh elections to take their country back from a government accused of attacking its own constitution. Maduro’s government has even prevented the leading opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, from participating in any political activity for the next 15 years by bringing charges of misusing government funds. Capriles, who almost beat Maduro in the 2013 presidential election, adamantly denies the charges saying they are politically motivated and unfounded.

The protests and the actions of the Venezuelan people have caught the attention of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.


“We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people,” Tillerson said in a news conference, according to Reuters. “We are concerned about that situation. We’re watching it closely and working with others to communicate those concerns.”

On April 20, Venezuelans again clogged major streets in cities across the country demanding their freedom.


According to CNN, protesters and the opposition are demanding the National Assembly be given their full power back, the release of all political prisoners, and for the government to hold the elections they have been purposely stalling.

Amid the turmoil and violence, General Motors has ceased operations in the South American country after it was allegedly seized by the government.


As reported by NPR, the motor vehicle industry in Venezuela has taken a severe hit because of the political and economic turmoil. The government had effectively blocked auto makers from the money needed to import parts and handle business as usual. “G.M. strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions to defend its rights,” G.M. told The New York Times in a statement.

The protests are in their third week and we will have to see if the Maduro government will respond to increased pressure.

@inti / Twitter
CREDIT: @inti / Twitter

READ: Fed Up Venezuelans Unite Nationwide To Tell Maduro They’ve Had Enough

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Reporter Punched During Massive March And Protest In Mexico City

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Reporter Punched During Massive March And Protest In Mexico City

@adn40 / Twitter

Hundreds of women in Mexico took to the streets to demand justice after two teenage girls reported being raped by police officers. The protests filled Mexico City and women were not going to silent as they demanded justice. One reporter covering the protest was attacked on camera and the blame game is in full force as people try to find out who started it.

ADN40 reporter Juan Manuel Jiménez was covering the anti-rape protest in Mexico City when he was attacked by a random man.

Credit: @adn40 / Twitter

The video shows Jiménez reporting from the protest as protest participants threw glitter and other items at the reporter. The entire time, Jiménez mentioned that the women were angry at the injustice women face against Mexican police. When he mentioned going to another location to continue his reporting, that’s when a man walked behind in and sucker-punched him.

The man had spent time standing next to the reporter and was caught on camera, despite him trying to hide his face later.

Credit: @v_altamirano / Twitter

“This idiot el the coward,” tweeted @v_altamirano. “@juanmapregunta I hope they find him @SSP_CDMA @PGFJD_CDMX have his FIRST and LAST name.”

The man was seen standing near the reporter for some time as Jiménez was talking to the camera. Then, he retreated into the crowd and started talking to two people that were marching. After speaking with the two people, the attacker made his way back to the reporter and attacked him from behind.

The footage has angered people who are tired of the violence in Mexico and see the attack as lessening the protest.

Credit: dianamoon0506 / Twitter

“I am a mother, sister, and daughter and I do not approve this display, NO TO VIOLENCE,” tweeted @dianamoon0506. “The women started the violence. We will never advance humanity like this. All of my support to @juanmapregunta.”

Some women said the feminists marching defended the reporter and that it was a random man who attacked Jiménez.

Credit: @mickeydobbss / Twitter

After Jiménez was knocked to the ground, the video shows women cornering the attacker and attempting to detain the man. The man pushed the women off and ran into the crowd to get away from those pursuing him.

A lot of people are blaming the women who first started to attack Jiménez for creating the atmosphere.

Credit: @Omar_ca_P / Twitter

“They didn’t defend anyone, those who did ‘attack’ the aggressor and scream ‘it was him’ because they knew that this kind of thing damages their image and they want to distance themselves from blame,” tweeted @Omar_ca_P. “They too attacked the reporter, not with punches but they attacked.”

Another video posted showed some of the protesters stopping to care for Jiménez after he was knocked to the ground.

The people caring for Jiménez helped him wake up and are shown in the video caring for him. This all happened after he was knocked to the ground and the attacker ran away.

You can watch the full video below.

What do you think about the attack and the blame game happening with the march?

READ: Hundreds Protest After Teen Girls Accuse Mexico City Police of Rape

As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

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As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

Rep. Darren Soto / Soto.House.Gov

The headline gives it away: it’s legit, Trump and his band of merry men are considering taking steps to enact a TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, specifically for Venezuelans in the US. But what does this mean, exactly? Don’t worry, because we’ve saved you the hard work of doing research on the topic – read on to find out all about it.

Why the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

Twitter / @immprobono

Instituting a TPS for the Venezuelan population in the US would essentially protect them from being deported. While at this stage the details are sketchy, it seems that the plan would be to not only allow Venezuelans to continue living in the US, but also have work permits, too. And yes, it would also mean that these same Venezuelans, with their newfound legal status, wouldn’t have to watch out for persecution from ICE officers anymore.

The primary reason the White House is seeking to provide legal protections for Venezuelans is due to the current political environment in Venezuela.

Instagram / @elconsejero.ve

While it’s a complicated situation, the short story is that Venezuela’s current President, Nicolás Maduro, has been accused of running fraudulent elections by his opposition. This has escalated into military struggles – which, alongside power cuts, and food and medicine shortages, has resulted in an estimated four million Venezuelans leaving the country. As a result, Venezuelan migrants flocked to the US, since it’s one of the closest stable countries to Venezuela. However, that doesn’t mean that all Venezuelan migrants have got current paperwork for them to live and work in the US. Establishing a TPS for these Venezuelans would ensure that they’re rightfully recognized as asylum seekers, and give them the legal status to remain and work in the US.

Why it’s hella weird that the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

Instagram / @starbucki77

Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that, for once, the Trump administration is considering ways to protect people who are legitimately seeking asylum. But, it’s also weird as heck that it is considering ways of instituting a TPS. Remember, this is the same administration that gave us the infamous Muslim ban, overcrowded detention centers in El Paso, and also jeopardized the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program. Trump and friends don’t really have a great record when it comes to embracing immigration.

The other thing to consider is that the TPS they’re proposing would only be available for asylum seekers coming from Venezuela.

Instagram / @chebt82

People from other Latin American countries aren’t in luck, this time around. Some have speculated that the reason for this is because while Trump and his team consider Venezuelans to be refugees fleeing danger, they see Hispanics from the rest of Latin America as job seekers, looking to leech off of America’s success.

Another theory that’s been floated is that Trump is actually thinking ahead to 2020: Florida, as a key battleground state, is home to a considerable Venezuelan community. Offering TPS to friends and families in those neighborhoods could possibly be the olive branch Trump needs to secure deciding votes in the state. So, for those cynics out there, maybe it’s not so weird that Donald has has a change of heart when it comes to some immigrants.

Why the White House considering a TPS for Venezuelans isn’t a permanent solution.

Twitter / @AmericasVoice

Well, firstly, it’s important to remember that TPS stands for Temporary Protection Status – with emphasis on the temporary. The question remains as to what would constitute grounds for withdrawing such protection: would Maduro have to step down? Would Venezuela’s political system need to be overhauled? Or would Venezuela have to reach a certain GDP threshold before the US considered it stable enough for Venezuelans to return? And, what about potential pathways to gaining full, legitimate US citizenship from the TPS? The terms of the TPS are yet to be fully explored.

Another, secondary, thing to think about is the fact that not all Republicans are on board with the TPS.

It’s entirely possible that party politics may stand in the way of successfully implementing a magnanimous TPS program.

At the end of the day, while it’s great to see the Trump administration reconsidering its harsh stance on immigration and asylum seekers, at the same time, if they’re planning to institute policy to accommodate for refugees, then they need to plan for the long term. The reality is that if people are being settled in the US under a TPS to escape the hardships and traumas of their native countries, they are inevitably going to build a life, make friends and potentially create a family, under the auspices of a temporary program. Removing them from that life would further traumatize these people and also damage the community. Let’s hope that the current administration keeps this in mind when they’re debating the TPS. After all, these are human lives they are talking about.

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