The 2014 Venezuela protests are a series of protests against the government of Venezuela and president Nicolás Maduro. Reasons for the protests include chronic scarcity of basic oods and high levels of criminal violence. The inflation rate for 2013 was 56.2% and the scarcity index had been near 20% throughout 2013. In response to the inflation Maduro has increased the minimum wage, the legal minimum for full-time workers and for pension, by the same percentage as the inflation: 59% between May 2013 and January 2014.
The Venezuelan government’s economic policies, including strict price controls, have led to the highest inflation in the world, and have caused severe shortages of food and other goods. President Maduro instead blamed an “economic war” being waged against his government; specifically, he has blamed capitalism and speculation.
Protests began in early January 2014, after actress and former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was killed during a roadside robbery with her five-year-old daughter in the car. Ongoing student protests coincided with the commemoration of the Battle of La Victoria on 12 February 1814, during the Venezuelan War of Independence, when the independence forces armed thousands of college and seminary students at the shortage of troops. This day is also known in Venezuela as the National Youth Day. Protests have taken place in several cities around the country. Six people have been killed, 66 injured as of 13 February, and 138 more on 19 February;and approximately 100 arrested as of 16 February, and 89 still detained as of 19 February.
The former presidential candidate of the MUD, Henrique Capriles, condemned the violence of some anti-government groups, saying “We condemn the violence. Violence will never be our path. We are sure that the large majority reject and condemn this!”