Venezuela

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Venezuela’s chaos turned bizarre Tuesday evening when a rogue police officer flew a helicopter over the Caracas presidential palace and later urged Venezuelans to rise up against their government. The cop has done this sort of thing before – on the big screen.

Oscar Pérez is an officer in Venezuela’s investigative police force. But now it seems he’s an insurrectionist.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is describing Tuesday's helicopter assault on the country's Supreme Court and Interior Ministry as a terrorist attack.

But there's a lot of confusion about who was behind the dramatic incident in the capital Caracas, with opponents of the president suggesting that it may have been staged.

Franklin Gutierrez / St Vincent de Paul

Greilys arrived in South Florida two months ago from Los Teques, Venezuela, south of Caracas, with “a few dollars and four suitcases” – hounded out of her job and her country, she says, by an increasingly brutal socialist regime.

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Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Daily protests. Rising crime. Food shortages.

That's the reality on the ground in Venezuela.

The country is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, and political unrest is escalating. Protests led by Venezuelans denouncing President Nicolás Maduro have now entered their third month.

But that's not what Buzzfeed News reporter Karla Zabludovsky set out to cover on a recent reporting trip to Caracas, Venezuela’s capital.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

Today there’s rarely if ever good economic news from Venezuela. But the country’s already collapsing economy may be closer to outright crashing. And that has serious repercussions for South Florida.

Italian tire maker Pirelli announced Tuesday it’s suspending operations in Venezuela. United Airlines this week stopped service to Venezuela. General Motors said last month it’s leaving Venezuela. The reason: Venezuela is suffering the world’s worst economic implosion.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

On the night of May 12, a group of Venezuelan expats gathered in front of the house of former Venezuelan judge Dayva Soto in Weston. They screamed insults at her in Spanish.

Ariana Cubillos / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Goldman Sachs made a dumb p.r. move last week when it bought a $2.8 billion tranche of Venezuelan government bonds – and did so in a way that appears to have handed President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled socialist government an important financial lifeline.

It has been more than 60 days since Venezuela's Supreme Court moved to dissolve the country's National Assembly. The move, intended to eliminate a thorn in the side of embattled President Nicolas Maduro, was reversed after three days — but the political fallout has barreled into its third month, roiling city streets across the country.

The U.S. Treasury Department is freezing the assets of eight members of Venezuela's Supreme Court of Justice as a result of rulings that the U.S. says have usurped the power of that country's democratically elected National Assembly.

The sanctions were announced in a statement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Three years ago, Venezuela’s socialist regime jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López for leading anti-government protests – and also tried to imprison López’s top lieutenant, Carlos Vecchio.

But Vecchio went into hiding and then into exile in South Florida. From here Vecchio helps lead López’s party, Voluntad Popular, or Popular Will.

More than six weeks into ever-deepening demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro's government, Venezuelans have found themselves staring down some stark numbers:

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Anti-government unrest in Venezuela has entered its sixth week – with almost 40 people killed. Venezuelans in South Florida are also turning up the volume against the socialist regime – and Florida Governor Rick Scott joined them Monday night in Doral.

Hundreds of expats sang the Venezuelan national anthem outside the Arepazo Dos restaurant in support of massive street protests back home. They want the ouster of left-wing President Nicolás Maduro, whom they blame for political repression and Venezuela’s economic collapse.

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UPDATED April 27 at 9 pm

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro calls his country’s tens of thousands of anti-government protesters “terrorists.” But the son of one high-ranking Maduro official is publicly telling the regime it’s wrong.

Updated 2 a.m. Thursday ET:

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Venezuela is in its fourth week of massive anti-government demonstrations – and so far 21 people have been killed in the unrest.

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