Venezuela’s Rebels With a Cause
The collapse of oil prices, combined with years of economic mismanagement by the government, has left young Venezuelans with high expectations but no real prospects. Tragically, the only solution President Nicolás Maduro's government seems to have is stepped-up repression against those whom it betrayed.
WASHINGTON, DC – The image of Wuilly Arteaga crying after Venezuelan security forces destroyed his violin has been seen by millions of people around the world. The 23-year-old Arteaga had joined in the protests against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government by playing patriotic songs. His look of despair speaks to what many in Venezuela are feeling as they wonder how much longer their country must suffer violence and misrule.
At least 115 protesters have died in Venezuela since the opposition-organized street protests began on April 1. More than 50 of those killed have been younger than 30, and many were just teenagers. They include people like Neomar Lander, a 17-year-old protester who was reportedly shot at point-blank range with a teargas canister, and Yeison Mora, also 17, who was shot in the face while participating in a demonstration in the country’s southwest.