Venezuela is currently in its twelfth week of riots.
For the past three months, angry Venezuelans have been taking to the streets and rioting against their president’s totalitarian regime. President Maduro has led the socialist country into a point of economic, social, and now political collapse, and the people are fed up.
But unfortunately, the civil unrest is getting violent.
Apartments, hotels, office buildings, and healthcare facilities account for half of high-rise fires in the United States, but in Venezuela, most fires are now caused by unhappy citizens. Protesters are calling for an election for a new president and broad political reform. Most notably, rioters set fire to the Supreme Court building in the capital of Caracas on June 12.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when President Maduro decided to rewrite the country’s constitution, which would change fundamental rights for the Venezuelan population. In response, a motion was formed by Maduro’s opposing party to prevent Maduro from rewriting the constitution. However, this motion was denied by the Supreme Court, the Telegraph reports.
The fire in the Supreme Court building is just one such incident, and fiery protests have become a daily practice in Venezuela. So far, protests have killed 67 people within the past two months and injured thousands.
In fact, protests and violence across the country have been getting so extreme that hospitals simply cannot keep up with the demand of those seeking medical care. Hospital workers at the Plaza Alfredo Sadel in Caracas city center explain to the Guardian that the violence shows no signs of decreasing. Doctors estimate that they have gone from around 30 wounded patients a month to a staggering 65 within the past two weeks.
Describing his life as “living in a constant state of emergency,” Dr. Henrique Montrbun oversees the triage post at the hospital. He says that he is less shocked by the rioting, rather the violence that everyday citizens are enduring at the hands of law enforcement.
“Violence doesn’t surprise me but the level of hatred security forces are showing towards average citizens and the use of non-conventional weapons like loading tear gas canisters with nails and marbles does take me aback,” he says to the Guardian.
Not only are law enforcement officers deploying any method they can to resist violent rioters, demonstrators are reporting that they are being robbed by them as well.
Videos have surfaced on social media showing security forces stunning protesters with tear gas, then, when the person is non-responsive, stealing jewelry and their other personal belongings. In fact, the videos have riled up so much anger that opposition leaders have filed a complaint with the nation’s prosecutor’s office to conduct an investigation into the robberies.
At this point, robberies are happening everywhere and anywhere in Venezuela. People are robbing each other, their offices, and even warehouses for anything edible. This stolen inventory will never be replaced, putting further strain on already depressed businesses.
In most developed countries, industry is more concerned with improving efficiency (only 30% of warehouses are considered “efficient” by modern standards). However, such concerns may seem trivial in a country on the brink of civil war.
This vicious cycle of robbery is just a blip on President Maduro’s radar, however. He has been recorded saying he views the protesters and riots as terrorist cells trying to overthrow his government, and that they must be stopped in their tracks before they get too powerful.
In the meantime, Venezuela continues to burn.