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Socialist Utopia: Venezuela’s Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting

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Violent clashes flare in pockets of the country as citizens wait for hours for basics, such as milk and rice.

LA SIBUCARA, Venezuela— Maolis Castro and Kejal Vyas report: Hours after they looted and set fire to a National Guard command post in this sun-baked corner of Venezuela earlier this month, a mob infuriated by worsening food shortages rammed trucks into the smoldering edifice, reducing it mostly to rubble.

“In past years, when oil prices were high, Venezuela’s leftist government flooded markets with subsidized goods ranging from cooking oil to diapers. It gave citizens in border towns like La Sibucara not only access to cheap supplies, but also a source of income as many people trafficked products—including nearly free gasoline—to neighboring Colombia, drawing handsome profits.”

The incident was just one of numerous violent clashes that have flared in pockets around the country in recent weeks as Venezuelans wait for hours in long supermarket lines for basics like milk and rice. Shortages have made hunger a palpable concern for many Wayuu Indians who live here at the northern tip of Venezuela’s 1,300-mile border with Colombia.

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“We are going very hungry here and the children are suffering a lot.”

—María Palma, 55, of La Sibucara

The soldiers had been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which President Nicolás Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. But after they seize contraband goods, the troops themselves often become targets of increasingly desperate people.

“Food-supply problems in Venezuela underscore the increasingly precarious situation for Mr. Maduro’s socialist government, which according to the latest poll by Datanálisis is preferred by less than 20% of voters ahead of Dec. 6 parliamentary elections.”

“What’s certain is that we are going very hungry here and the children are suffering a lot,” said María Palma, a 55-year-old grandmother who on a recent blistering hot day had been standing in line at the grocery store since 3 a.m. before walking away empty-handed at midday.

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“If people aren’t outside protesting, they’re outside standing in line for goods.”

—Marco Ponce, head of the Venezuela Observatory of Social Conflict

In a national survey, the pollster Consultores 21 found 30% of Venezuelans eating two or fewer meals a day during the second quarter of this year, up from 20% in the first quarter. Around 70% of people in the study also said they had stopped buying some basic food item because it had become unavailable or too expensive.

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An authentic socialist candidate soars in popularity in the U.S., the citizens of Venezuela are feeling the Bern

“They’re committing treason against our country, taking food and crossing the border.”

—National Guard Gen. Manuel Graterol

Food-supply problems in Venezuela underscore the increasingly precarious situation for Mr. Maduro’s socialist government, which according to the latest poll by Datanálisis is preferred by less than 20% of voters ahead of Dec. 6 parliamentary elections. The critical situation threatens to plunge South America’s largest oil exporter into a wave of civil unrest reminiscent of last year’s nationwide demonstrations seeking Mr. Maduro’s ouster.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

“It’s a national crisis,” said Marco Ponce, head of the Venezuela Observatory of Social Conflict, noting that unlike the political protests of last year, residents are now taking to the streets demanding social rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Update: Baltimore Mayor’s Aides Wanted to Send ‘Scouts’ Ahead of Her Appearances Amid Curfew Anger

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Some community members questioned the mayor’s actions and level of visibility during and after the riots.

 reports: Nearly a week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a curfew in Baltimore following rioting and looting — and just one day before she lifted it — top mayoral aides were concerned about her safety amid a growing community tension.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

In a May 2 email to other aides and top deputies, Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because “it was very sketchy and tense.”

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“Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because ‘it was very sketchy and tense.'”

“Folks want the curfew lifted,” Augustus wrote.

He recommended the city send “community folks up there to assist” instead.

[Read the full story here, at the Baltimore Sun]

He also said that while there were “many options” for where the mayor could meet with community members the following day, her team would “need scouts on the ground.” Read the rest of this entry »


Mike Lester: #Baltimore #BlackLivesMatter

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[VIDEO] #Baltimore: Non-Strategic Rioting


#BaltimoreRiots: Violence Breaks Out in Baltimore After Freddie Gray’s Funeral

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Police officers injured in clashes; mayor imposes overnight curfew starting Tuesday evening

BALTIMORE— Scott Calvert and Kris Maher report: Violent confrontations between demonstrators and police broke out in this city for the second time in three days, hours after thousands of people attended Monday’s funeral for Freddie Gray , a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody this month.

“Right now, we’re seeing unprecedented violence throughout the city.”

— Darryl DeSousa, chief of patrol for the city police department

Fifteen officers were injured and two were hospitalized, police officials said. Earlier Monday a police spokesman said the injuries included broken bones. One patrol car was attacked and at least one more engulfed in flames as looters ransacked stores. A CVS store was looted, then apparently set on fire. At least 27 people were arrested.

“It is so frustrating that people think that this makes sense, to destroy our community.”

— Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

The altercations took place along several busy intersections near the Mondawmin Mall in northwest Baltimore, in a neighborhood near the church where the funeral was held. Demonstrators pelted lines of police in riot gear with rocks, bricks and other objects.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hugs a member of the Gray family during Freddie Gray's funeral. Photo: Shawn Hubbard for The Wall Street Journal

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hugs a member of the Gray family during Freddie Gray’s funeral. Photo: Shawn Hubbard for The Wall Street Journal

Police responded with tear gas and set up a cordon seeking to restore order. Chunks of bricks, rocks and broken glass littered the streets, and smoke from burning cars and trash cans rose into the sky. The Maryland Transit Administration closed several subway stops near the unrest, and the Baltimore Orioles baseball game was canceled.

“It began as a cause and is ending in pure ignorance.”

— Sean Berry-Bey, a 33-year-old resident of West Baltimore

“Right now, we’re seeing unprecedented violence throughout the city,” said Darryl DeSousa, chief of patrol for the city police department.

[Read the full text here, at the Wall Street Journal]

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency Monday evening, activating the Maryland National Guard. Maryland State Police troopers arrived on the scene earlier in the evening, as did police from several counties, including Prince George’s County, outside Washington.

Demonstrators throw rocks at police in Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

Demonstrators throw rocks at police in Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake imposed a citywide 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew beginning Tuesday evening and lasting at least a week. “It is so frustrating that people think that this makes sense, to destroy our community,” the mayor said. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] CCTV America Cameraman Attacked by Protestors, Camera Stolen

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cameraman was just attacked by protestors and his camera stolen


[PHOTO] of the Night

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[PHOTO] Ferguson: Protesters Forming Line in Street with their Backs to the Police


Ferguson Missouri: SWAT Truck Repositioned, Gun Pointing Straight at Protesters


Looting in Paris as Europeans Protest Against Glass Windows, Laws, Property, and Jews

 

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Sarcelles (France) (AFP) – A French rally against the deadly Israeli offensive in Gaza once again descended into chaos Sunday as protesters looted shops and riot police lobbed tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.

“We’re going to get the cash register.”

The demonstration in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles is the third to have deteriorated in the space of eight days in a country that counts the largest Muslim population in western Europe and a huge Jewish community.

Looters then began raiding shops, wrecking a funeral home and destroying its front window as several protesters shouted: “F@ck Israel!”

A decision by authorities to ban protests in areas deemed too sensitive has also garnered controversy as they took place anyway and turned violent, while authorised ones elsewhere in the country — as well as in other cities across Europe — were peaceful.

From Vienna to Stockholm and on to Amsterdam, thousands rallied on Sunday to oppose Israel’s offensive, which has left more than 400 Palestinians and 20 Israelis dead. Read the rest of this entry »