Updated April 16—In Venezuela, a wave of opposition protests began on February 12. Protesters have expressed discontent with rising crime, inflation, and shortages of basic goods, among other issues. AS/COA provides a timeline, analysis, primary sources, and social media resources to follow the events.
Explore perspectives from AS/COA experts, find live coverage online, discover people to follow on social media, and see primary sources about the protests.
- Get ongoing news updates and analysis on the protests from AQ's Venezuela In Depth page.
In the Media:
- On CCTV, COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth talks about the mediated talks between Venezuela's government and the opposition.
- AS/COA's Senior Policy Director Christopher Sabatini speaks on NTN24 about media restrictions during the protests, as well as Brazil's role as a possible mediator.
- On Voice of America, Farnsworth discusses the latest repercussions of the protests.
- Sabatini discusses Venezuela's opposition and ruling party in the context of the protests on Al Jazeera America.
- On FoxNews.com, Farnsworth explains what's behind the protests, and what impact they could have on the oil industry.
- In an Al Jazeera English interview, Farnsworth gives his perspective on what's next for Venezuela's opposition.
- On Al Jazeera America's Consider This, Sabatini provides context on the forces at play behind the protests.
- In a February 18 interview with CNN, Sabatini shares his perspectives on what's behind the protests.
- An April 9 COA panel examined Venezuela's political crisis and discussed what's next.
- In World Politics Review, Sabatini writes about how the U.S. government could adopt a multilateral approach to resolve Venezuela's political crisis.
- A March 17 AS/COA panel debated what's ahead for Venezuela amid the current political unrest.
- Farnsworth examines the political effects of Leopoldo López's arrest for O Estado de São Paulo.
- The international community should respond to the Venezuelan government's "anti-democratic actions," writes Farnsworth on February 18 for O Estado de São Paulo.
- Read a 2008 AS/COA Online interview with opposition figure Leopoldo López.
Explore a variety of statements and videos related to Venezuela's February protests.
- Read the Venezuelan government’s statements on the protests.
- See the Venezuelan foreign ministry's statements on foreign reactions to the protests.
- Venezuela's armed forced released a statement on February 18 deploring the violence and expressing support for Maduro, saying the military "would never accept a government that does not come to power constitutionally."
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff commented on the protests during a February 24 press conference. She explained that Venezuela is a different case from what's happening in the Ukraine, and said Brazil prefers dialogue and consensus over an "institutional rupture."
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on February 18 that he was concerned about the situation in Venezuela and called for dialogue.
- Peruvian President Ollanta Humala said in a February 18 statement that he encouraged respect for democracy and human rights.
- Uruguay's President José Mujica called for Venezuelans to defend democratic stability and said South American countries should work together to resolve the conflict.
- The Panamanian government released a March 5 statement expressing "astonishment" about Venezuela breaking ties, and denied that there was any effort to meddle in Venezuelan affairs. Earlier, the foreign affairs ministry released a February 18 statement urging the Venezuelan government to respect human rights and freedom of expression.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed support for Maduro and his government in a February 18 statement.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera called on the government to respect human rights and urged both sides to respect freedom of expression in a February 16 statement.
- Argentina's foreign ministry reiterated its support for Maduro's administration in a February 13 statement.
- Ecuador's foreign ministry condemned the violence and expressed support for Maduro's government in a February 12 release.
- Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent Maduro a letter encouraging dialogue during this "delicate moment."
- The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) released a March 27 statement following a foreign ministers' visit to the country to meet with the government and opposition.
- UNASUR released a March 12 resolution following its foreign ministers meeting, pledging to send a delegation to Venezuela and urging "dialogue and concord."
- In a March 4 joint statement, four former presidents hailing from Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru condemn the protest violence and call for the government to release those imprisoned for political reasons.
- The Southern Common Market bloc released a statement condemning the violence and reiterating its "commitment to the full exercise of democratic institutions."
- The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States bloc released a February 17 statement condemning violence at the protests and encouraging dialogue between the government and the country's political forces.
- U.S. President Barack Obama gave a brief statement on Venezuela during the February 19 North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico, urging the government to release protesters, engage in a dialogue, and restore calm.
- On February 28, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says during a press conference that the United States is " working very closely with Colombia and with other countries to try to see how some kind of mediation might be able to take place."
- In an MSNBC interview, Kerry says that while the U.S. government wants to improve relations with Venezuela, "Maduro keeps choosing to blame the United States for things we’re not doing or for things that they’re unhappy about in their own economy and their own society."
- Kerry released a February 21 statement expressing "increasing concern" about the government's response to the protests and saying "this is not how democracies behave." He adds: "The government’s use of force and judicial intimidation against citizens and political figures, who are exercising a legitimate right to protest, is unacceptable and will only increase the likelihood of violence."
- On March 13, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released a statement expressing concern about ongoing violence, asking the government to respect human rights, and recommending a third-party mediation.
- State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki gave a February 25 briefing on the expulsion of Venezuelan diplomats from Washington, and also spoke about the U.S. government's unwillingness to reinstate an ambassador in Venezuela until Maduro's administration takes more "positive steps."
- Read Kerry’s February 15 remarks on violence at the protests. He expressed concern about the violence and López's arrest.
- Read a U.S. State Department statement on the expulsion of U.S. officials from Venezuela.
- On March 4, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to a resolution condemning violence in Venezuela and urging the U.S. government to support "basic freedoms" in Venezuela.
- U.S Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a resolution on February 27 calling for "full accountability for human rights violations" in Venezuela and recommending sanctions against the Venezuelan government. They later introduced a March 13 bill to provide funding for human rights in Venezuela and to sanction Venezuelan officials responsible for human rights violations.
- On February 27, the European Parliament urged the Venezuelan government to disarm paramilitaries and called for the respect of "fundamental rights" and "constructive and respectful dialogue." Representatives also asked for an ad-hoc delegation to be sent to Venezuela.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon gave his perspective on the protests in remarks on March 3, saying Venezuelan leaders "should listen carefully to the aspirations of the people" and that protesters should "resort to peaceful means."
- Ki-Moon issued a February 26 statement urging dialogue and efforts "to lower the tensions and prevent further violence."
- On March 7, the Permanent Council of the OAS agreed to a resolution calling for dialogue in Venezuela.
- The Secretary General of the Organization of American States José Miguel Insulza released two statements about the protests, appealing to both sides to prevent more violence. On March 5, he released another statement saying that "dialogue is the only possibility for a solution."
- The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says a group of independent experts asked the Venezuelan government for "clarification of allegations of arbitrary detention and excessive use of force and violence" against protesters and journalists.
- On February 14, Spokesperson Rupert Coleville of the Office of the U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Venezuelan government to ensure the right of assembly and freedom of expression.
- Pope Francis made an appeal for peace in Venezuela through "dialogue" and "reconciliation" on February 26.
- Amnesty International released an April 1 report about human rights violations and rule of law during the protests.
- Amnesty International issued a February 19 statement about López's arrest, saying it was a "politically motivated attempt to silence dissent."
- The Human Rights Foundation declared Leopoldo López a prisoner of conscience and called for his release in a statement on February 21.
- Human Rights Watch released two statements, condemning the protest violence, censorship of journalists and protest coverage, and the government's repression of the demonstrations.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists gave a February 20 rundown on the attacks on the press during the protests in Venezuela.
Social Media & Live Coverage
Follow the latest events in Venezuela from a variety of sources on social media, live coverage, and social media profiles crowdsourcing news, photos, and videos. Social media has become especially important to share information, not only because Venezuela has a high rate of use of social networks, but also because the government has sought to limit access to protest news.
Twitter: Ruling Party Government Figures
- President Nicolas Maduro: @NicolasMaduro
- Foreign Minister Elias Jaua: @JauaMiranda
- National Assembly President Diosdallo Cabello: @dcabellor
- Prisons Minister Maria Iris Varella: @irisvarela
- Carabobo Governor Francisco Ameliach: @AmeliachPSUV
- Venezuelan Embassy in the United States: @VenezuelaInUS
Twitter: Opposition Government Figures
- Popular Will Party National Coordinator Leopoldo Lopez: @leopoldolopez
- Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles: @hcapriles
- Congressman Gerardo Antunez: @gerardoantunez
- Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado: @MariaCorinaYA
- Central University of Venezuela’s Student Federation President Juan Requesens: @JuanRequesens
- Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma: @alcaldeledezma
- Eugenio G. Martínez: @puzkas
- Maria Ramirez Cabello: @mramirezcabello
- Jose Manuel Dopazo: @JMDOPazovv
- Alejandro Hernandez: @alepuro
- Luz Mely Reyes: @LuzMelyReyes
- Nelson Bocaranda: @NelsonBocaranda
- Alberto Ravell: @AlbertoRavell
- Nathan Crooks: @nmcrooks
- Daniel Pardo: @pardodaniel
- Martin Marcovits: @MartinMarcovits
- Alistair Baverstock: @alibaverstock
- Girish Gupta: @jammastergirish
- Irene Casselli: @irenecaselli
- Herminia Fernández: @Herminiafe
Twitter: Profiles of Interest Providing Up-to-Date Information
- Lawyer Gonzalo Himiob: @HimiobSantome
- Lawyer Alfredo Romero: @alfredoromero
- Human rights activist Rocío San Miguel: @rociosanmiguel
- Bloggers at Caracas Chronicles: @CaracasChron
Twitter: News Outlets
- April dates: #1A - #15A
- March dates: #1M - #31M
- February dates: #12F - #28F
Crowdsourced News and Multimedia on Twitter
Crowdsourced News and Multimedia on Facebook
APRIL 15: The second round of mediated talks take place. The government and opposition agree to set up the truth commission about protest violence that includes members of the opposition. Both sides also agreed to support the government’s anti-crime plan and work together on the process to renew Supreme Court justices and members of the electoral council. At the next meeting, slated to take place on April 22, they plan to discuss political prisoners and political exiles.
APRIL 10: The first mediated talks between the government and opposition take place. The foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador and a Vatican representative serve as mediators. The meeting is six hours long, televised, and include both President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Maduro calls for the end of the violence and notes the next meeting is scheduled for April 15.
Capriles says the situation in Venezuela is "extremely critical" and calls for an end to the "persecution" of the opposition.
The next court hearing for imprisoned opposition figure Leopoldo López is set for May 8.
The protest death toll rises to 41.
APRIL 9: The Venezuelan government invites Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the number two figure at the Vatican, to mediate the dialogue with the opposition. In the meantime, Vatican envoy Aldo Giordano is slated to participate in the talks scheduled to begin the following day. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles says he supports the talks and that they represent a "historic opportunity."
APRIL 8: In a statement, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) says it is open to an "exploratory meeting" with the government. The meeting takes place in the afternoon, but MUD Executive Secretary Ramón Guillermo Aveledo cautions that it does not guarantee that mediation will begin. For further talks, the MUD wants to establish an agenda and ensure the meeting is mediated and televised.
During the meeting, both sides agree to a series of talks mediated by the foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador, as well as representative from the Vatican. Vice President Jorge Arreaza discussed the details of the dialogue during a press conference.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. government will not take action against the Venezuelan government as long as it is engaged in a dialogue with the opposition.
On Twitter, Arreaza invites opposition mayors and governors to meet with the government on April 11.
Tal como lo anunció el Pdte @NicolasMaduro, hemos convocado gobernadores y alcaldes de oposición para reunirnos el viernes a TRABAJAR
— Jorge Arreaza (@jaarreaza) April 8, 2014
APRIL 7: A delegation of foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) bloc arrives in Caracas for another 48-hour round of talks to meet with government supporters and the opposition. The Democratic Action Party's Secretary General Henry Ramos Allup says on Twitter that all of the parties within the Democratic Unity Roundtable attended, as well as Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles.
Respondiendo: a reunión anoche con cancilleres UNASUR asistimos TODOS los partidos políticos MUD y gobernadores Capriles,Falcón y Guarulla.
— Henry Ramos Allup (@hramosallup) April 8, 2014
After meeting with the ministers, President Nicolas Maduro agrees to sit down with members of the opposition the following day as a part of the UNASUR talks.
APRIL 6: In a statement, the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable welcomes the second visit by UNASUR foreign ministers the following day, saying it could be useful if the government is really serious about a dialogue.
APRIL 5: The UN Development Program in Caracas releases a statement expressing concern about the protest violence and offering support to peaceful protesters. The UN building in the capital is the site of around 120 tents set up by protesters in late March.
APRIL 4: The government officially establishes the National Human Rights Council, one of UNASUR's recommendations. The council will be under the vice president's office and includes a number of government officials, plus three representatives of human rights organizations to be chosen by the council.
Attorney General Luisa Ortega says opposition figure Leopoldo López—who remains in prison—has been indicted for four crimes: public instigation, damage to property, arson, and criminal association.
APRIL 3: The Venezuelan Penal Forum says that 2,118 people have been arrested since the protests began.
El País reports that Spain has halted sales of riot gear to Venezuela due to the protests.
APRIL 2: Venezuelan state media reports that foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) bloc will return to Caracas on April 7 to participate in the government's "peace conference."
Opposition Congresswoman María Corina Machado travels to Brazil, where she meets with members of Congress and addresses the Senate, speaking about the protests and the decision to strip her of her position.
She announced her Senate appearance on Twitter.
Hoy hablaré en el Senado de Brasil. No nos van a callar,al contrario; con sus atropellos potencian nuestras voces
— María Corina Machado (@MariaCorinaYA) April 2, 2014
The head of Venezuela's conference of bishops, Monsignor Diego Padrón, speaks out against the government and criticizes the crackdown on protesters.
APRIL 1: Opposition Congresswoman María Corina Machado holds a rally in Caracas, and suffers from a tear gas attack by the military at the end of the demonstration. She goes to the National Assembly, where she is blocked by police from entering.
President Nicolás Maduro publishes an op-ed in The New York Times called "Venezuela: A Call for Peace," giving his perspective on the protests and reiterating his wish to exchange ambassadors with the United States.
A group of Colombian newspapers ship 52 tons of newsprint to three Venezuelan newspapers facing a shortage of paper.
MARCH 31: The number of those arrested during the protests surpasses 2,000, according to the Venezuelan Penal Forum.
Opposition Congresswoman María Corina Machado says she plans to attend a session of the National Assembly the following day, insisting she is still a legislator. Students plan a march to support her.
The Supreme Court rules against Machado, saying she will lose her seat.
MARCH 29: Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez says the death toll has risen to 39.
MARCH 28: An appeals court denies opposition figure Leopoldo López's request to be released from prison.
A Vatican spokesperson said the Holy See would be willing to mediate in Venezuela.
MARCH 27: Foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) bloc release a statement about the ministers' visit. They note that all parties are prepared to "temper their language" in order to begin a dialogue. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua says ministers gave recommendations to President Nicolás Maduro, and he agreed to them.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says that three UNASUR foreign ministers are preparing to hold a dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition, but does not specify which countries. Later, El Universal reports that the three foreign ministers to hold the dialogue are from Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador. Representatives from the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable and Venezuelan Penal Forum say that UNASUR is not the right organization to mediate the crisis.
Vice President Jorge Arreaza announces the creation of a national human rights council, which will operate under the executive branch. The council was one of UNASUR's recommendations.
On the floor of the Senate, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) calls for targeted sanctions against Venezuelan officials.
MARCH 26: Opposition Congresswoman María Corina Machado returns to Venezuela from her trip abroad and says she will take legal action in Venezuela and abroad to keep her legislative seat.
Foreign ministers from UNASUR countries meet with governing party activists and student leaders, as Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño announces on Twitter.
@diabloburundang Mañana nos reuniremos con representantes estudiantiles venezolanos. También con el Gran Polo Patriótico
— Ricardo Patiño Aroca (@RicardoPatinoEC) March 25, 2014
UNASUR ministers also meet with representatives of the Venezuelan Penal Forum, who provide details on 59 cases of torture during the protests.
Hernando Garzón, a regional leader in the opposition Justice First party, is arrested in Barinas state for his alleged role in the protests there. His assistant first revealed the news on Twitter.
Es el asistente de hernando garzon, desde las 7am se encuentra detenido en cicpc barinas junto a su esposa sandra flores
— Hernando Garzón (@HernandoGarzon) March 26, 2014
MARCH 25: President Nicolás Maduro says that three generals from the air force have been arrested for allegedly plotting a coup.
Foreign ministers from UNASUR countries arrive in Caracas and meet with Maduro. The president asks for UNASUR support for the government's truth commission to investigate the protests. Later that day, the UNASUR ministers meet with representatives from the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable, who say they are open to dialogue with the government and “a third party in good faith.”
San Cristobal Mayor Daniel Ceballos is convicted to 12 months in prison for his alleged role in the protests.
From prison, opposition figure Leopoldo López pens a New York Times op-ed entitled "Venezuela's Failing State" to explain the factors behind the protests.
MARCH 24: Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly, says that opposition Congresswoman María Corina Machado is no longer a legislator and is not allowed into the National Assembly. He says she will be investigated for treason for having allegedly agreed to become Panama's alternative representative when she went to speak at the OAS. He also notes she has lost her congressional immunity, and will be open to prosecution for her alleged involvement in the protests.
The government launches Sicad II, a new foreign exchange system that will add a third exchange rate to the country's currency controls.
A monitoring delegation from the Union of South American Nations is due to arrive on March 25.
The death toll goes up to 36.
MARCH 23: Attorney General Luisa Ortega says that security forces had committed "excesses," noting that prosecutors opened 60 investigations into alleged human rights violations. She adds that 15 officials have been imprisoned in connection with those incidents.
MARCH 22: The death toll goes up to 34.
Carlos Vecchio, a leader and co-founder of the opposition Popular Will party, appears at a protest in Caracas, although there is a warrant out for his arrest.
MARCH 21: The OAS Permanent Council meets, and votes to hold their session about Venezuela in private. Opposition figure María Corina Machado, a member of Venezuela's opposition, was due to speak at the meeting.
The government announces that in April, it will start biometrics registration for those who use government supermarkets, and notes that each person will only be able to shop once at government supermarkets every four to seven days.
MARCH 20: The death toll goes up to 31. Attorney General Luisa Ortega says that over 1,800 people have been detained during the protests.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson says the arrest of the two opposition mayors "deeply worries" the U.S. government, which calls on Venezuelan authorities to release those who have been unjustly imprisoned.
The country's electoral authorities begin preparing to hold an election to fill the mayoral seat of San Diego, after the mayor's arrest.
MARCH 19: Around 1,200 soldiers and police remain in the Chacao region of Caracas, one of the protest hotspots.
In Caracas, Daniel Ceballos—a member of the opposition and mayor of San Cristobal, the city where the protests originated—is arrested and jailed on charges of "rebellion and conspiracy" for facilitating violence during the protests. On Twitter, one of his assistants writes that the mayor had been detained by intelligence agents.
Soy el asistente de Daniel Ceballos Ronni Pavolini acaba de llevárselo el SEBIN en caracas
— Daniel Ceballos (@Daniel_Ceballos) March 19, 2014
Another opposition mayor, Enzo Scarano, is convicted to 10 months in prison for ignoring a court order to clear barricades set up during the protests in his city of San Diego. He is also stripped of his seat as mayor.
Nos informan que acaba de culminar la audiencia del alcalde Enzo Scarano: 10 meses de prisión en el Sebin y el cese de sus funciones
— David Smolansky (@dsmolansky) March 20, 2014
Both mayors are sent to the same prison complex as jailed opposition figure Leopoldo López.
MARCH 18: The National Assembly installs a truth commission about the protests, but excludes the opposition.
The Venezuelan Penal Forum says that 1,566 people have been detained during the protests, and that 47 are still in prison. Meanwhile, student leader Juan Requesens meets with members of the National Assembly to provide evidence of torture of detainees during the protests.
To mark one month of opposition figure Leopoldo López's incarceration, a march takes place in Caracas.
Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Manuel Fernández hosts a conference of Twitter users intended to encourage "truthful" accounts of what's happening in Venezuela.
The Organization of American States plans a March 21 meeting of the Permanent Council about Venezuela, and Panama plans to give María Corina Machado, a member of Venezuela's opposition, a chance to speak. The National Assembly requests a criminal investigation of Machado for crimes in relation to her involvement in the protests.
MARCH 17: The death toll goes up to 29 after a soldier is killed during the protests.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson says the U.S. government supports a dialogue facilitated by a third party, but notes there are no plans for a U.S. dialogue with Venezuela.
Air Canada announces that due to "ongoing civil unrest" in Venezuela, it is discontinuing all flights to the Andean country. Due to problems arising from currency controls, 11 airlines have reduced their operations in Venezuela, says the country's airline association. On average, the number of seats have been reduced by over 38 percent.
MARCH 16: Pro-government and opposition protests take place in Caracas.
— El Universal (@ElUniversal) March 16, 2014
Soldiers forcibly evict protesters from Plaza Altamira, a demonstrators' stronghold in Caracas. Hundreds of soldiers are deployed to the Chacao region of Caracas, a hotspot for the protests that includes Plaza Altamira.
The Venezuelan Penal Forum says there are 59 allegations of torture at the hands of state forces against those detained during the protests.
MARCH 15: The government holds a military rally in Caracas. President Nicolás Maduro defends the military's right to use weapons during the protests, and says that only one of the protest deaths may have been caused by a member of the armed forces. And despite continuing accusations against the U.S. government, Maduro says he is establishing a high-level commission headed by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello to hold a dialogue with U.S. officials.
MARCH 14: During a press conference, President Nicolás Maduro defends his government's reactions to the protests. He retiterates his invitation to the opposition and students to hold a dialogue. He says that of the over 1,500 people arrested during the protests, only 105 are still in prison.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos offers to mediate in Venezuela.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua responds to Kerry's comments, blaming the protest violence on the U.S. secretary of state.
MARCH 13: President Nicolás Maduro invites student leaders to participate in a "peace conference" with the government.
At a hearing, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. government wants the Venezuelan government to "stop its campaign of terror against its own people."
The death toll rises to 28.
A bipartisan bill is introduced in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to authorize $15 million in new funding "to defend human rights, support democratic civil society organizations, assist independent media, and strengthen good governance and the rule of law" in the face of Venezuela's protests, and to sanction those in Venezuela responsible for human rights violations.
— El Universal (@ElUniversal) March 12, 2014
Meanwhile, Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramírez plans to speak at the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, defending her office and alleging a "campaign of hate" against her.
A Venezuelan court orders three opposition mayors in the states of Miranda and Carabobo to remove barricades put up during the protests, saying failure to do so could result in their arrest.
The death toll goes up to 25. Of the more than 1,300 people arrested since the protests began, 92 are still behind bars.
In Chile, foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations meet about Venezuela. They decide to send a commission to the country in April to mediate a dialogue between the government and the opposition. Venezuelan Minister Elías Jaua says he met with his Latin American counterparts and Latin American presidents, who he says "offered support to guarantee peace in Venezuela."
President Nicolás Maduro announces the government will hold a special cabinet meeting on security and that he plans to take "drastic measures" against those committing violence during the protests. He also says former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent him a letter encouraging dialogue during this "delicate moment."
Gracias al compañero Lula por esta carta tan amorosa que me ha enviado. Muito Obrigado.... http://t.co/uR6IQggZTf
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 12, 2014
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States is prepared to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter and impose sanctions on Venezuela, if necessary. He says he hopes that neighboring countries can help mediate a dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passes a resolution calling for the United States to impose sanctions on the Venezuelan government.
Late that night, Maduro orders the arrest of the "financiers of violent groups," which the communication minister reveals on Twitter.
Se ordenó l actuación d la fuerza pública en las zonas de focos violentos en las próximas horas, así como, detención de los financistas y...
— Delcy Rodríguez (@DrodriguezMinci) March 13, 2014
...Y proveedores de estos grupos violentos! El jefe de Estado presevará la paz de la República y de sus ciudadanos!
— Delcy Rodríguez (@DrodriguezMinci) March 13, 2014
MARCH 11: After President Michelle Bachelet's March 11 inauguration in Chile, foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations are due to meet about Venezuela on March 12. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets with the leaders of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to discuss the situation in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who was supposed to arrive in Chile on Monday for the inauguration, reportedly cancels his trip, sending his foreign minister instead.
The death toll rises to 22.
In a newly launched radio show, Maduro says he will not allow the opposition to march in Caracas, and that as long as the protests happen and the opposition refuses to sit down with the government, the opposition needs to ask permission in order to hold marches.
Students plan a large protest in Caracas for the following day to demand that the country's ombudswoman resign.
Since the start of the protests, 97 media workers have suffered physical attacks, says the country's press union. A total of 14 members of state security forces, including police and national intellgience, have been arrested since the start of the protests for violence during the demonstrations.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes a resolution to sanction members of the Venezuelan administration responsible for human rights abuses during the protests, paving the way for the bill to be voted on by the full Senate.
MARCH 10: In Caracas, doctors hold a demonstration to protest the lack of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
MARCH 9: In an interview with Chile's El Mercurio, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is inventing "totally false and extravagant conspiracies" about the United States, and said the situation in Venezuela is "alarming."
El Universal publishes an interactive map detailing the protest deaths.
MARCH 8: Amid ongoing demonstrations, Vice President Jorge Arreaza leads a "political peace conference" at the presidential palace, which includes four high-ranking members of the governing party and four members of the opposition. However, it does not include one of the main opposition leaders, Henrique Capriles.
During a press conference, Venezuela's Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramírez says 21 people have died during the protests, and says that four cases of abuse by state security forces are under investigation.
In Caracas, demonstrators block one of the city's highways as the National Guard stands watch.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 8, 2014
2 vistas de la protesta arriba manifestantes y abajo piquete de la GNB 1:26pm en la Av Libertador pic.twitter.com/0CBWTx8578
— Viva La U (@VivaLaUCV) March 8, 2014
MARCH 7: Venezuela's journalists' union says that during the protests, 89 journalists have been physically attacked, and of those reporters, 22 were also robbed of their belongings and equipment. In a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, President Nicolás Maduro defends the government's response to the protests and says the government "has always guaranteed freedom of the press."
According to the Venezuelan Penal Forum, 1,199 people have been detained or arrested since the protests began.
Reporte Foro Penal al 7marzo, 5.00 pm, TOTAL DETENIDOS POR MANIFESTACIONES desde el 2feb14: 1199
— Alfredo Romero (@alfredoromero) March 7, 2014
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa says that foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations will meet in Chile on March 11 to discuss Venezuela.
Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli demands that the Venezuelan government pay the $1 billion it owes to Panama, saying there was no excuse not to pay the debt, even after Maduro broke ties with the Central American country.
The protest group SOS Venezuela plans demonstrations around the world on March 8.
The OAS Permanent Council agrees to a resolution calling for a dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition. The accord does not include the convocation of a ministerial meeting, nor sending a delegation to Venezuela.
MARCH 6: President Nicolás Maduro calls for the Union of South American Nations to hold a presidential summit about the situation in Venezuela. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's foreign policy advisor, Marco Aurélio Garcia, returns from Venezuela after meeting with Maduro. He says the Venezuelan government is open to allowing a mission of UNASUR observers to go to the country to help end the crisis. He adds that he believes the international media is blowing the situation out of proportion; "it's not chaos," he says.
The OAS Permanent Council holds a meeting about the situation in Venezuela, but is unable to come to a consensus and agrees to meet again the following day.
The death toll rises to 20.
In Tachira state, the origin of the protests, the local "peace conference" begins, though half of the state's mayors were excluded.
MARCH 5: Protests continue. The government commemorates the one-year anniversary of President Hugo Chávez's death; the presidents of Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua fly to Caracas for the event. President Nicolás Maduro says that several people responsible for violence during the protests were arrested in possession of weapons.
The OAS announces that the Permanent Council will meet on March 6 to discuss the situation in Venezuela.
Later, Maduro announces that the government is breaking diplomatic and commercial ties with Panama due to a "conspiracy" against Venezuela. The decision came after Panama's president requested the OAS meeting about Venezuela's crisis. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli writes on Twitter that Maduro's decision took Panama by surprise, and that his country only wants Venezuela to find peace and strengthen its democracy.
Sorprende decisión del Gobierno de Venezuela. Panamá solo anhela que ese hermano país encuentre la paz y fortalezca su democracia
— Ricardo Martinelli (@rmartinelli) March 5, 2014
MARCH 4: In an interview, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression Frank la Rue says the deaths during the protests have resulted in "a real crisis of expression."
Folha de São Paulo reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's foreign policy advisor, Marco Aurélio Garcia, will head to Caracas on March 5 to meet with the government about the protests, as well as for the Chávez anniversary event. At a press conference, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua says that no country has made a formal proposal to mediate the crisis, and says that Venezuelans will resolve their problems internally.
President Nicolás Maduro announces the government will hold a "peace conference" in Tachira, one of the regions most affected by the demonstrations and where the protests originated.
Students hold another large protest in Caracas, the day before the one-year anniversary of President Hugo Chávez's death. NTN24 tweets a photo from the demonstration.
— ReporteroNTN24 (@ReporteroNTN24) March 4, 2014
The U.S. House of Representatives agrees to a resolution condemning violence in Venezuela and urging the U.S. government to support "basic freedoms" in Venezuela.
MARCH 3: Ahead of his meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Elías Jaua speaks in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council, claiming the protests are political and not a result of social unrest.
Student groups across the country release a manifesto with five demands, including disarming paramilitaries and releasing political prisoners.
President Nicolás Maduro tweets that the Venezuelan energy minister met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to sign energy agreements, and that Putin supports the Venezuelan government in the face of the protests.
En Moscú se reunió con El Presidente Vladimir Putin quien envió mensaje de confianza a Venezuela,también firmó acuerdos de apoyo financiero.
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 4, 2014
In a message relayed through Carlos Vecchio, a Popular Will party leader, opposition figure Leopoldo López calls for the resignation of numerous officials, including the attorney general and energy minister.
MARCH 1: The Venezuelan government says that Foreign Minister Elías Jaua will meet with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva on March 4 to discuss the protests.
Vice President Jorge Arreaza confirms that local peace conferences will take place in Anzoategui, Barinas, Carabobo, and Miranda states, saying the government is willing to discuss "all topics," everything from security to the economy to the return of political exiles.
Communications Minister Delcy Rodríguez says the Venezuelan government will sue Spain's ABC newspaper and Venezuela correspondent for "manipulating the truth" about the protests.
FEBRUARY 28: The Venezuelan Penal Forum, an organization of human rights lawyers keeping track of abuse allegations during the protests, says 609 people have been detained during the protests. According to Attorney General Luisa Ortega, the death toll stands at 17. Later in the day, the number of deaths rises to 18.
During his tour of Southern Common Market (Mercosur) countries, Foreign Minister Elías Jaua stops in Brazil. In a press conference there, he claims the Venezuelan government is facing "an armed and violent" coup attempt by the extreme right. Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo says he is confident through "dialogue and respect for institutional order, Venezuela will maintain democratic order and rule of law."
During a second meeting of the government's peace conference, President Nicolás Maduro presents a five-point plan, which calls for expanding the economic truth commission and local peace conferences in several states. The opposition and student leaders are absent from the conference.
Twitter Data, which compiles information on Twitter trends, publishes a map showing mentions of Venezuela across the world during the month of February.
FEBRUARY 27: The extended Carnival holiday begins, but the protests continue. The main student federation in Caracas plans a protest for the Sunday of Carnival weekend.
The Venezuelan Penal Forum says 33 people have reported being tortured by security forces.
The government holds an "economic peace conference" with 115 businesspeople.
During his Mercosur tour, Jaua asks for support so that the Union of South American Nations analyzes the situation in Venezuela, rather than the Organization of American States. Uruguayan President José Mujica says he would be willing to mediate to prevent the crisis from growing. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva weighs in on the protests, saying Venezuela needs peace and that President Nicolás Maduro is "well-intentioned" and "wants the best" for his country.
U.S Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduce a resolution calling for "full accountability for human rights violations" in Venezuela and recommending sanctions against the Venezuelan government.
Maduro writes on Twitter that through the peace conference, the country will engage in "dialogue and action to defend the constitution and peace."
Anoche instalamos la Conferencia Nacional de Paz y vamos a transitar la Ruta de diálogo y acción para defender la Constitución y La Paz..
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 27, 2014
Carlos Vecchio, a leader and co-founder of López's Popular Will party, confirms there is a warrant for his arrest. He asks: "How can we talk about peace and dialogue when the opposition is being repressed and persecuted?"
Cómo se puede hablar de paz y diálogo cuando se reprime y se persigue a la disidencia?
— CARLOS VECCHIO (@carlosvecchio) February 28, 2014
Mashable maps some of the major events from the protests.
FEBRUARY 26: Pro- and anti-government demonstrations take place in Caracas ahead of Maduro's "peace conference" with different sectors of society. The opposition Democratic Unity coalition says it will not participate in the conference, calling it a "simulation of a dialogue."
Maduro opens the peace conference, which does not include the opposition but does include business leaders. Jorge Roig, head of the country’s main federation of business chambers, warns the president about the severity of the country's economic challenges but notes the business community wants to help. "Let's turn the page," he says.
Five members of the country's top intelligence agency are arrested on murder charges related to shootings during the protests.
The Organization of American States postpones a February 27 Permanent Council meeting about Venezuela following objections from the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS.
Foreign Minister Elías Jaua begins a tour of Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and Southern Common Market countries—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay—to discuss the protests and to thank those governments for "supporting Venezuela's democratic institutions."
El Universal tweets a photo from one of the morning's Caracas demonstrations.
— El Universal (@ElUniversal) February 26, 2014
William Castillo, the head of Venezuela's telecoms regulator, promotes the peace conference on Twitter with the phrase "We will prevail!"
— William Castillo B (@planwac) February 26, 2014
Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma shares photos of protests from 16 states throughout the country.
Frente a la hegemonía mediática del régimen para desmoralizarnos, nuestra convicción se crece. ¡VIENE LA ALEGRÍA! pic.twitter.com/U0cGjfrMni
— Antonio Ledezma (@alcaldeledezma) February 26, 2014
On Twitter, Maduro welcomes participants to the peace conference in the evening. "Peace, peace, and more peace!" he writes.
Ya esta a casa llena la Conferencia Nacional de Paz,en unos minutos empezaremos el trabajo por nuestra Venezuela¡Paz,Paz y más Paz!!!
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 26, 2014
FEBRUARY 25: The death toll rises to 15.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles publishes his 10 proposals about the protests and governance, ranging from releasing imprisoned students to disarming paramilitaries. Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned opposition figure Leopoldo López, tells Chile's El Mercurio that López is in a 6.5 foot by 6.5 foot cell and though he is cut off from any communication, authorities are allowing family visits.
The United States expels three Venezuelan diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Washington, after Venezuela expelled three U.S. diplomats on February 16. A State Department representative says the U.S. government wants to see more "positive steps" from the Venezuelan government before it appoints an ambassador.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio says he plans to propose sanctions against Venezuela. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter offers to mediate between the government and opposition on an upcoming April visit to Venezuela.
The Venezuelan government goes ahead with the announcement of its new ambassador to the U.S. Foreign Minister Elías Jaua taps Maximilian Arveláez—a former ambassador to Brazil—for the position.
— Cancillería Vzla (@vencancilleria) February 25, 2014
FEBRUARY 24: In an interview, Tachira state Governor Vielma Mora—a member of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela—calls the militarization of his state during the protests "excessive." He criticizes the federal government and the country's economic problems, and says he doesn't agree with the arrest of opposition figure Leopoldo López.
Maduro says he will ask the National Assembly to create a truth commission to investigate the protests. He also announces that on February 25, he will nominate a new ambassador to the United States; the two countries have been without ambassadors since 2010.
Numerous opposition mayors cancel Carnival celebrations due to the protests, a day after Maduro declared a new national holiday on February 27.
The death toll goes up to 13; around 45 protesters remain in jail.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles writes on Twitter that he will not attend a governors' meeting with President Nicolás Maduro after all, saying he will consult with his base.
Hoy NO hay reunión con Nicolás,es Consejo Federal y estamos después de tanta mentira e insulto consultando comunidades sobre asistencia
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) February 24, 2014
In an afternoon press conference, Capriles affirms that he will not meet with Maduro and discusses the ongoing repression of protests.
Gerardo Blyde, mayor of Caracas' Baruta municipality, writes on Twitter that "peace is not constructed with repression, deaths, arrests, and violation of human rights."
La Paz no se construye con represión, muertos, presos y violación de derechos humanos.
— Gerardo Blyde (@GerardoBlyde) February 24, 2014
FEBRUARY 23: President Nicolás Maduro gives more details about the national peace conference, noting that it will not only include political leaders but also representatives from the religious, labor, and artistic sectors.
The National Guard tries to arrest retired Brigadier General Ángel Vivas after he is accused of one of the protest-related deaths, but he refuses to leave his house, saying the arrest warrant wasn't signed by a judge.
The death toll rises to 11.
In a Telesur interview, Maduro continues to accuse the "extreme right" as the force behind the protests, and asks that people around the world "tell the truth" about what's happening in the country on social media.
FEBRUARY 22: The death toll rises to 10.
Maduro says Vivas—an anti-chavista former military officer—is to blame for one of the deaths, and orders his arrest.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles and Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned opposition figure Leopoldo López, speak at a large protest in Caracas. They denounce paramilitary violence and allegations of torture by imprisoned students, and call for the release of López and jailed protesters.
Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma tweeted this widely circulated image of the Caracas protests, calling it a "sea of people."
Un mar de gente, de estudiantes, de amas de casa, de obreros. ¡Un mar de pueblo que hoy alza su voz por la libertad! pic.twitter.com/Dw8s1kluI8
— Antonio Ledezma (@alcaldeledezma) February 22, 2014
— El Universal (@ElUniversal) February 22, 2014
In his speech at the protest, Capriles says he will attend a governors' meeting with the president on February 24.
Vivas writes on Twitter that he will refuse to turn himself in after Maduro ordered his arrest.
El proconsul cubano en Venezuela, cumpliendo ordenes de FidelCastro acaba de mandar a detenerme, luego piensan lincharme, NO ME ENTREGARE.
— Angel Vivas (@Gral_Vivas_P) February 22, 2014
FEBRUARY 21: The protest death toll rises to eight people.
CNN reports that the government revoked press credentials for four of the network's journalists. One of these CNN journalists, Patricia Janiot, leaves the country and says she was harassed by security in the airport.
In a press conference with the international media, Maduro says CNN can continue to broadcast as long as it does so "with equilibrium." The president discusses the ongoing demonstrations, saying that protest-related violence is taking place in areas governed by the opposition. However, he also calls for a high-level dialogue with the United States, expressing a wish to reinstate ambassadors in both countries. After the press conference, officials tell CNN that its journalists would be given credentials to keep reporting.
Watch a clip from the president's press conference when he discusses starting a dialogue with the United States.
Watch the full press conference.
On Twitter, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez threatens to suspend fuel shipments to areas where opposition protests are taking place.
Nos veremos obligados a suspender el suministro de combustible en las zonas bajo el asedio fascista a fin de preservar la seguridad de todos
— Rafael Ramirez (@RRamirezPDVSA) February 21, 2014
FEBRUARY 20: On national TV, Maduro warns he may take CNN off the air, saying his government had "started the administrative process" to remove the channel, which he alleges is showing "propaganda" about the protests.
Opposition figure Leopoldo López remains in prison where he will stay for at least 45 days as the investigation against him begins. He faces up to 10 years in prison. Henrique Capriles, another opposition leader, holds a press conference condemning the recent violence and calls on Maduro to disarm the country's paramilitary groups.
A sixth death is reported as a man is shot while passing a protest in Barquisimeto.
The country's journalists' union reports that during the protests, 12 reporters have been detained, 18 have been physically attacked, and 11 have been robbed.
Watch a clip from Maduro's speech about CNN.
Watch a video of Capriles' press conference.
FEBRUARY 19: López has his first court hearing and remains in custody on charges of arson and conspiracy. However, his lawyer says that the most serious charges, that of homicide and terrorism, have been dropped.
A fifth person dies after getting shot at a protest in Carabobo state. There are reports of violence by military and paramilitary groups in several cities.
On Twitter, López's team confirmed that after his first hearing on February 19, he will stay in prison.
Termina la audiencia. Ratificada medida privativa d libertad. El cambio esta en cada uno d nosotros. No se rindan. Yo no lo hare/LT
— Leopoldo López (@leopoldolopez) February 20, 2014
Watch a pre-recorded video of López, released after he was taken into custody.
FEBRUARY 18: Maduro replaces the head of the country’s intelligence agency.
A fourth person dies during the protests after getting hit by a car. Pro-government and opposition marches take place throughout the country.
López turns himself over to the authorities, who take him into custody. He spends the night in Los Teques prison. A judge orders the arrest of Carlos Vecchio, a leader and co-founder of López's Popular Will party.
Watch footage of López turning himself in to the authorities on February 18.
See Lopez's last speech (with English subtitles) before turning himself over to authorities.
Watch a clip from Maduro's February 18 speech as he discusses López's arrest.
The Popular Will party tweeted that López arrived in court following his arrest, on the afternoon of February 18.
— Voluntad Popular (@VoluntadPopular) February 18, 2014
FEBRUARY 17: A total of nearly 100 people are arrested since the start of the protests.
FEBRUARY 16: López says he will march at the February 18 opposition rally and will then turn himself over to the authorities. He denies that he committed a crime.
Maduro announces that he will expel three U.S. diplomats from the country, alleging they conspired to incite protests.
Watch Leopoldo López’s video statement on February 16, discussing his plans to turn himself over to authorities.
FEBRUARY 14: Maduro announces a pro-government march on February 18, the same day as continued opposition protests.
Bloomberg reports that the Venezuelan government is blocking protest images posted to Twitter.
FEBRUARY 13: The president bans unauthorized protests, but demonstrations continue.
A Venezuelan court issued an arrest warrant for López, as the government charged that he was to blame for the violence during the protests.
FEBRUARY 12: Large, nationwide protests take place, leading to the deaths of three demonstrators.
The Venezuelan government cuts off the signal to Colombian-based NTN 24’s TV feed, which had been covering the protests.
FEBRUARY 4: Students begin protesting in the border city of San Cristobal in Tachira state after a sexual assault at a local university. Five students were arrested and jailed, sparking solidarity protests.