Waves of protesters clad in masks and hoods battled riot police in Caracas and other major Venezuelan cities last night, leading to at least two more deaths in the latest outburst of unrest against President Nicolas Maduro.
Back in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott seized the opportunity to slam the White House when he told a group of Venezuelans in Kendall that President Obama is "not caring about Venezuela."
The protests, which have been raging in Venezuela for more than two months, peaked again yesterday after government forces regained control of San Cristobal, the city where the waves of anti-Maduro dissent began.
Activists in Caracas responded by barricading streets, disrupting traffic, breaking windows, and setting government vehicles on fire. When riot police responded, tear gas filled the streets, and protesters fought back with homemade smoke bombs.
At least two protesters died in clashes elsewhere, with one killed in San Cristobal and another in Maracaibo, bringing the death toll in the anti-government violence to 39.
On a visit to Kendall yesterday, Scott contrasted the violence in Venezuela with the international response to Ukraine's uprising and said Obama has been found wanting.
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"Mr. President, you've got to declare economic sanctions. You've got to show up," Scott told a crowd at the restaurant Don Criollito, the Miami Herald reports.
Obama has tried to work behind the scenes to get the Organization of American States involved in tamping down the violence, thus far with little success. Here's what John Kerry had to say about the administration's efforts in March:
"We are engaged now with trying to find a way to get the Maduro government to engage with their citizens, to treat them respectfully, to end this terror campaign against his own people, and to begin to hopefully respect human rights and the appropriate way of treating his people," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "And we're -- we think it's time for the [Organization of American States], for the neighbors, for partners, and other international organizations to all focus on Venezuela appropriately, hold them accountable."