Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro deploys army to quell looting and attacks

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro deploys army to quell looting and attacks

Nicolas Maduro has sent in 2,600 soldiers to restore order to Tachira

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The president of Venezuela has sent the army to restore order to a western province of the country following a series of violent demonstrations. 

A teenager - 15-year-old Jose Guerrero - was killed overnight, shot dead after getting caught up in a wave of looting and attacks which has erupted in the state of Tachira over the last few days. 

Across Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of business have been ransacked by protesters, and two police stations were razed to the ground.

Maduro's response to the ongoing situation - after declaring a state of emergency yesterday - has been to send in a total of 2,600 soldiers to restore order. 

The defence minister who made the announcement, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, declared Maduro would not allow Venezuela to fall into chaos. 

Guerrero's death is believed to bring the fatalities after a total six weeks of unrest to 43.

Over the last month and a half, there have been almost regular protests against the government over Maduro's handling of the political crisis and the shortage of medicine and food created by a worsening economic situation.

The country has previously received praise from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was an admirer of former leader Hugo Chavez.

After the long-time ruler died in 2013, Corbyn wrote: "Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared." He told a subsequent vigil that, under Chavez, Venezuela had a "better way of doing things."

In 2015, he said "it is a cause for celebration - the achievements of Venezuela, in jobs, in housing, in health, in education, but above all its role in the whole world as a completely different place."

However he has stayed silent on the recent crisis in the country.

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