Venezuelan student protesters tweet #LaSalida to call for president's exit

Among Venezuelans taking to the streets are student protesters who, in the past, have proven to be a powerful political force. Using Twitter as well as street demonstrations, the students offer a boost to a weak and disjointed opposition.

Alejandro Cegarra/AP
A woman with the symbol of the student protests, a white hand, painted on her face marches with fellow demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. At least three people were killed after the largest protests ever against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s 10-month-old government.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas and other cities Wednesday in the biggest antigovernment protests yet during the 10-month term of President Nicolas Maduro. Pro-government demonstrators also turned out, sparking confrontations that reportedly left three people dead.

Demonstrators also took to the Internet, circulating the Twitter hashtag #LaSalida (The Exit) as a rally call for Mr. Maduro to step down. Student protesters have been a powerful political force in Venezuela, having fueled the 2002 coup against former President Hugo Chavez (he was reinstated by the military after 47 hours). Maduro himself has arrested at least 19 antigovernment demonstrators whom he calls “coup-seekers."

“I tend to believe that if students continue to go into streets then people will follow behind,” says our correspondent in the nation’s capital. “This could be an opportunity for the opposition."

But the opposition is weakened by disunity.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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