March 16, 2014. Caracas, Venezuela. Protesters stand in a cloud of tear gas as they clash with the National Guard in Altamira, a wealthy enclave of Caracas. As protests all over Venezuela against food shortages, inflation, and crime continue into their second month, President Nicolas Maduro issued a statement of his intentions to end the unrest, and the National Guard responded with a heavily increased volume of arrests at the protests.
A wave of political unrest hit Venezuela in February of 2014, sparked by the attempted rape of a University student in San Cristobal, Tachira, a traditionally anti-Chavista area of Venezuela. The protesters were largely students from the middle and upper classes of Venezuela. They called for an end to the rampant levels of crime in the country, as well as solutions to skyrocketing currency inflation and shortages of basic goods like flour, milk, and toilet paper. Many called for "La Salida;" the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro, the democratically elected, handpicked successor of the late President Hugo Chavez. Chavez was beloved by the working class majority of Venezuelans, revered as a savior of the poor.
At least 42 people were killed in protests across the country.
Maduro and his supporters called the protests a violent coup attempt by right wing elites, while the opposition called the President a murderer and continued to build barricades and burn trash in the streets of upper class communities, defending themselves with molotov cocktails and sling shots, against security forces who were accused of human rights violations by organizations like Amnesty International.