Earlier this year, VICE News headed to Venezuela's capital of Caracas to cover protests that started in the provinces before engulfing the city. What began as a student movement inspired by the scarcity of basic goods and an exploding crime rate — the UN has classified Venezuela as the world's murder capital, war zones excluded — had snowballed into mass anti-government riots.
Angry at the perceived shortcomings of President Nicolás Maduro, who replaced the charismatic Hugo Chavez a year before, thousands of mostly middle-class protesters took to the streets, tearing the city apart during pitched battles with Caracas's brutal semi-militarized police force. Protesters also had to contend with collectivos, quasi-governmental biker gangs accused of spreading insecurity and discontent to keep Venezuela's population frightened and indoors.
VICE News released six dispatches from the ground and live streamed from Altamira Square, the heart of the city's unrest. In Venezuela Rising, we explain the story behind the protests, linking up with rioters, government supporters, activists, and victims of Caracas's intolerable crime wave. In an exclusive interview, we also speak to Henrique Capriles, the leader of the political opposition.
At least 43 people have died since the protests in Caracas began, and thousands more have been injured and arrested. In Venezuela Rising, VICE News finds out why.