A version of this article originally appeared on VICE France.
This February marks the 20th anniversary of the Bolivarian Revolution that brought Hugo Chávez to power, but no one is celebrating in Venezuela. The country is embroiled in a political crisis: Sitting President Nicolas Maduro, who replaced Chávez in office after his death in 2013, has been ousted from power by Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who declared himself interim President of Venezuela on January 23. Maduro was re-elected to a second six-year term in May 2018 despite reports of widespread electoral fraud. Guaidó’s claim to the presidency has the support of the US, Canada, the EU, and the majority of Venezuela’s neighboring countries.
Adding to this political turmoil is the grave socioeconomic crisis that has caused more than 3 million Venezuelans to flee the country since 2014, mainly to Brazil and Colombia. Those who remained have borne the brunt of hyperinflation and a growing shortage of basic provisions needed to survive, like food and medicine.
But in the wake of Guaidó’s announcement, hope has returned. The 35-year-old politician wants to bring down Maduro and all the systems he’s put in place. Since the end of January, Venezuelans have taken to the streets to call out the shortage of food and supplies, aggressive hyperinflation, and Maduro’s regime. The state's harsh response has resulted in arrests and deaths. The latest demonstrations occurred on Tuesday in several cities across the country to demand that humanitarian aid be allowed to enter the country. At present, they remain blocked by Maduro's forces at the borders.
At the front lines of these protests are the Venezuelan youth. With masked faces and Molotov cocktails in hand, they don’t balk when confronted directly by the police, who respond to the protesters with brutality.
The current regime may be living out its last weeks in power, driven out by the international community and pressure from the street.
Read on to see our photos from Caracas: