The National Guard shelled the Francisco Fajardo Highway with tear gas cannisters.
The opposition continued to confront the Maduro regime today.
Venezuela is aflame with the fires of rebellion after President Nicolás Maduro arrested opposition leader Leopoldo López and sent communist Cuban forces to assault young, unarmed protesters. Nowhere has there been more rebellion than the western state of Táchira, however, where protesters beheaded a statue of Chávez today.
Táchira, located on the border with Colombia and home to nine universities, is the first state in which the governor, himself a Chavista, turned on Maduro. Governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora said in a speech earlier this week that he disagreed with the arrest of Popular Will Party leader López and that he was “not a part of the regime,” though he later tried to make amends on Twitter with the Chavistas his comments upset.
His comments came after a series of human rights abuses in the capital city of San Cristóbal, where Maduro shut off electricity and the internet temporarily, asserting martial law in the region, leading to some of the most violent images of National Guard attacks on civilians surfacing there. The oversized population of students, proximity to the free and prosperous nation of Colombia, and excessive use of force has made Táchira the heart of the opposition movement in Venezuela.
The civilians, it seems, have had enough. The giant bust of Hugo Chávez that made its home in the state was found decapitated by students today, with the moving images distributed throughout Twitter. The students deliberately decided to cut off its head, rather than topple it completely, and spread the image through social media. “The statues of Chávez are beginning to fall,” posted the first; it is unknown who committed the deed. The image was first published by the media in Argentine website Infobae.
Suppressing protesters in Las Mercedes in Caracas with water and teargas (Gabriel Bastidas)