On July 5, members of the National Guard stood by as armed civilian bands of government supporters, known as colectivos, stormed the Venezuelan National Assembly—the one branch of power controlled by the opposition—and held almost 300 legislators and their staff under siege for close to seven hours. The images of congressmen with blood streaming from their heads dominated social media and news media in short succession.
The assault was the latest event in an increasingly escalating situation in the South American country. The current protests, which are the most sustained since President Nicolás Maduro took office in April 2013, started up on April 1 in response to a government decision to suspend the powers of the legislature. That the government partially reversed the decision a few days later assuaged no one, and citizens who’ve suffered under increasingly dire food and medicine shortages continued, and in some places intensified their protests.
AS/COA Online looks at some of the defining numbers of the last three months as the country inches ever closer to a major civil conflict.