A man returned to his apartment in New York City recently to find that nearly everything he owned had been removed.
And no, he wasn’t the victim of a cruel prank or even a crime. It was a terrible mistake. A rubbish removal service had taken his belongings.
“Just think of everything that you’ve acquired in your lifetime in your house just gone!” the tenant, Nilay Shroff, told WABC-TV.
He said that he had returned one day after work and came home to a cleared out apartment.
“Right here, I had a dresser before, in here was completely empty, my air conditioner was still in there, my microwave, all of my pots and pans, every single cabinet was just cleared out,” Shroff said, “I literally had the clothes that I was wearing on my back and nothing else.”
Thinking that he was the victim of a burglary, he called the police. Investigators soon learned that he wasn’t the victim of a crime. Rather, they told him, he was the victim of a terrible mixup.
“The cops were like, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this.’ They were laughing,” Shroff said.
The police eventually learned from the landlord that the removal service meant to clean out apartment 2D, not apartment 2B.
“It’s every single piece of clothing that I owned. Like, underwear, I have to go to Target the next morning to just buy underwear,” Shroff said.
The computer technician has since started to replace his missing things, but says there still a lot of work to be done.
“I was just shocked, in shock,” Shroff said.
More consequences of Obamacare – this time potentially killing an outpatient substance abuse service that many people rely on:
The Butcher of Benghazi, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has blood on her hands: the blood of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty.
This according to a scathing report entitled “Breach of Duty: Hillary Clinton and Catastrophic Failure in Benghazi,” put together by Special Ops OPSEC, the same group that produced the viral documentary Dishonorable Disclosures.
Western Center for Journalism has analyzed this groundbreaking report and found that Hillary Rodham Clinton has indeed been implicated in murder.
Watch our exclusive video for all the details about “The Butcher of Benghazi Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
After conducting a search and straw poll, a national tea party group has settled on a Republican primary challenger to House Speaker John A. Boehner, picking high school teacher J.D. WintereggJ.D. Winteregg to carry the tea party banner in the intraparty battle.
The announcement, which the Tea Party Leadership Fund (TPLF) will make Wednesday, could help Mr. Winteregg gain attention in a field dominated by Mr. Boehner and his massive campaign bank account. Mr. Winteregg is one of several men running against Mr. Boehner in the GOP primary in the speaker’s western Ohio district.
Rusty Humphries with the TPLF, a political action committee, said Mr. Boehner has failed to follow through on conservative goals during his time as speaker.
“This is a guy that has allowed spending to increase. This is a guy that fought for benefits for congressmen while at the same time fighting to cut benefits for our veterans,” Mr. Humphries said.
Mr. Boehner has been under fire from tea party groups over last year’s budget deal, which boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, and for this month’s debt vote, when he allowed a 13-month debt increase to pass without conditions on the strength of Democratic votes.
Mr. Humphries said voters in the district itself are ready to dump Mr. Boehner, who is serving his 12th term in Congress – and second as speaker.
“The one thing I found a lot when I was in the district is how few people have seen him in the district in a long time,” Mr. Humphries said. “This is a guy who has not kept up with his people.”
But a campaign aide for Mr. Boehner said he’s still well-connected to Ohio’s 8th congressional district.
“John and his wife Debbie still live in Butler County and call it home. They made that choice – and stuck with it, even when he became speaker – because it was important to them to remain part of the community that has always been central to his service in the House,” the aide said.
As for the policy fights, the speaker had said he wouldn’t allow another government shutdown or default on federal obligations – either of which could have resulted from the failure to pass a budget or a debt increase. Mr. Boehner has argued that the 2014 election will be fought over President Obama’s agenda, including his health care law.
Mr. Humphries said the Tea Party Leadership Fund will post billboards and run radio commercials aiding Mr. Winteregg, and said the more money people donate to the leadership fund, the more will be targeted to ousting Mr. Boehner.
Unseating top party leaders is rare.
Mr. Humphries has been signed to write a column for The Washington Times, which has not yet debuted.
Two years ago Mr. Boehner easily saw off another tea party challenger, defeating pro-life activist David Lewis with 84 percent to Mr. Lewis’s 16 percent.
The No. 2 Republican in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is also facing a primary challenge. Dave Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, is challenging the Virginia Republican, arguing his support for passing an immigration bill is kowtowing to big-business interests.
Mr. Winteregg’s positions on the issues:
The premise that seems to align people from all sides in America is a disdain for our representatives in Congress. This is our common ground. Instead of fighting each other–to the delight of those in power – we need to come together for one objective to replace those in power. Fortunately, the Constitution provides us with a way – through an amendment process–that allows us to enact real change in D.C. I’ve come up with a plan that, when implemented within our Constitutional framework, will change how Congress functions. It’s easy to understand, easy to articulate, and easy to support. These four elements will be my focus while in Congress.
Community- All representatives must live among their constituents. The number of days they spend in Washington, D.C. will be capped. With the technology that exists, and with the need to diminish the lobbyist influence, this mandate will ensure that the representatives do what they’re meant to do – represent the people.
Authenticity- Immediately prior to entering Congress, representatives must have held a non-political, non-lobbying position for a period of 4 years. This will break up the political ladder climbing and ensure that our representatives understand what working in the “real world” is like under the current rules and regulations.
Service- The opportunity to represent a district should be viewed as an honor and framed in a way that reflects that. As such, this amazing service opportunity will be capped at 12 years. No representative or Senator may spend more than 12 years representing a district or state in D.C.
Transparency- No former representative or Senator walks out of D.C. as a member of the middle-class. As members of Congress, they – and their spouses – will be required to publicly and prominently display where all of their earnings are derived. No ranges – specific amounts. This instills another measure of accountability on those in D.C.
Reforming Congress must happen first. Only then will representatives be able to effectively–and fairly – fight for the issues that are important to their respective constituents.
In addition to these ideas of reform, I am proud to say that I am a Christian conservative Republican who believes that relying on the Constitution will help to push our exceptional country back in the right direction.
Premise of governance
I believe that words have meaning, so by extension, the Constitution means today what it meant when it was written. The Preamble to this great document makes clear that the Constitution was written, among other reasons, to secure the blessings of liberty. An activist federal government undermines this key founding principle, so I will work to restore our process of governance to what the founders originally intended with the Constitution as my guide.
We need to secure our borders and enforce the laws that we have on the books. I am 100% opposed to amnesty.
I believe in the free market Capitalist system, and the only way for that to thrive is for the government to have a minimalist approach in intervening.
Without life, there is no liberty. I am pro-life, no exceptions.
I believe in our second amendment right to keep and bear arms. This right should be vigorously defended from attempts by the federal government to undermine it.
We need to reduce the government involvement with respect to our healthcare. Allowing the free market to run its course will help to make healthcare more affordable to all. I am in support of the movement to entirely defund Obamacare.
As a public school teacher, I understand the importance of this issue. As someone who feels the effects of federal mandates, and as someone who has witnessed the toll it has taken on my colleagues and students, I believe that education is best left to the local level. Parents and communities know what is best for their own children, and these decisions need to be left to them.
Representatives need to understand that the government is not the primary source of economic growth. The private sector is more efficient and productive than any government effort. Representatives should work with constituents to achieve private solutions to public problems, and they should avoid at all costs taxing the citizens. Federal spending should be done within the parameters of a balanced budget. Government fraud, waste, and abuse should be addressed before any taxes are raised on the American people.
Like most 8-year-olds, Myles Eckert was already dreaming up ways he could spend a $20 bill he had just discovered laying in a Cracker Barrel parking lot earlier this month.
“I kind of wanted to get a video game, but then I decided not to,” the child recounted to CBS News.
That’s because Eckert saw Lt. Col. Frank Dailey enter the restaurant. The man in uniform changed his mind.
“Because he was a soldier, and soldiers remind me of my dad,” Eckert explained to CBS.
So, instead of purchasing something for himself, Eckert did something very different on Feb. 7. Something Dailey says he will remember for “a lifetime.”
The 8-year-old boy wrapped the $20 bill in a note he had authored to the solider.
“Dear Soldier – my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now,” the note said. “I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”
Eckert’s father, Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, had been killed in Iraq when he was only a few weeks old. The 8-year-old can only think of what he was like.
“I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun,” he told CBS News.
That February day, Eckert even asked his mother to go visit his father.
“He wanted to go see his dad,” said his mother Tiffany. “And he wanted to go by himself that day.”
She took a photograph of her son visiting his father’s grave.
Dailey, touched by the Eckert’s gesture, said he looks at the note he received each day.
“It’s incredible being recognized in such a manner,” he said, adding that the child’s simple gift has provided him “a lifetime of direction.”
A Mississippi man declared dead woke up in a body bag at a funeral home.
“I stood there and watched them put him in a body bag and zip it up,” Walter Williams’ nephew Eddie Hester said.
The coroner said he checked Williams for a pulse around 9 p.m. Wednesday, and later pronounced him dead at his home in Lexington with no heartbeat.
“That was at 10:30,” Hester said. “My cousin called me and said ‘Not yet’ and I said what you mean ‘Not yet?’ He said ‘Daddy still here.’”
After the coroner helped move Williams to Porter and Sons Funeral Home, workers were getting ready to embalm him when he started to move.
“He was not dead, long story short,” funeral home manager Byron Porter said. Porter said he had never seen anything like it before.
Paramedics took Williams to the hospital.
Family members say they’re happy he’s alive. His daughter Martha Lewis said, “I don’t know how much longer he’s going to grace us and bless us with his presence, but hallelujah, we thank him right now, right now!”
You may remember the Jeff Gordon “test drive” ad from about a year ago, when Gordon, in disguise, appeared to take a hapless used-car salesman on the ride of his life. Well, as it turned out, most of that ad was staged; Gordon himself wasn’t even behind the wheel for much of the ad.
But never let it be said Gordon doesn’t have a long memory… or a desire for revenge. Gordon and the folks at Pepsi zeroed in on Travis Okulski, a writer for Jalopnik who wrote a scathing takedown of the commercial. With a little help from Okulski’s bosses, they got Okulski into a cab in North Carolina, and, well… magic happens. This one’s a bit long but worth it.
Nice work there by Gordon in playing a reasonably convincing ex-con who ain’t gonna go back to prison. The lesson is clear: don’t mess with Gordon.
Now, let’s be clear: you can be forgiven for thinking this is yet another hoax. We’re used to this thing by now: something that seems too good to be true in fact IS too good to be true, whether it’s Jeff Gordon test-driving or a wolf wandering the hallways of the Sochi athletic dorm. If this is a scam, however, Okulski and Jalopnik are both staking their journalistic reputations on it:
This is a real thing. It really happened. It’s not fake. At all. http://jalopnik.com/how-jeff-gordon-scared-the-crap-out-of-me-1531016226…
9:03 AM – 27 Feb 2014
99 Retweets – 57 favorites
“This is absolutely, 100%, totally legit,” Okulski told Yahoo Sports. “Not fake in any way at all. I was really that terrified.”
A Florida TV station reports that a man has spent 50-60 hours trying to cancel his Obamacare plan, and he still can’t get off it:
“We are hearing about a new problem that involves the Affordable Care Act,” said the anchor. “People who signed up for coverage are finding it impossible to cancel their plans. Channel 9′s Lori Brown spoke with an Orlando man who has been trying unsuccessfully to cancel for more than six weeks now.”
“Andrew Robinson was looking forward to getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. He has a small publishing business and works part time, so he hasn’t had coverage. In early January he signed up for a plan that cost nearly $300 a month. About a half hour later he and his wife realized they could barely afford that. They quickly found a less expensive plan through Humana for $116 a month,” says the reporter.
“I immediately called back the Florida Blue and asked them to cancel the policy I just set up,” says Robinson.
“But he quickly learned canceling Obamacare is no easy task… More than six weeks later after spending 50 to 60 hours on the phone his policy is still not canceled and he is still waiting for the payment Florida Blue withdrew from his account to be refunded.”
A school superintendent in California got an earful earlier this week when parents were given the chance during an emergency meeting to question his supposedly excessive salary.
“You should all step down and walk away from this! This is ridiculous! This is nuts, this is crazy! I give my wife everything! I do anything I can for my wife! I’m sleeping with her! Who are you sleeping with?” one man shouted during the meeting.
Jose Fernandez, who oversees the Centinela Valley Union High School District in Lawndale, Calif., reportedly earned $663,000 in 2013, according to KCAL-TV.
His district includes only three high schools with a combined total of 6,500 students.
The district also reportedly floated Fernandez a loan of more than $900,000 at 2 percent interest over 40 years. The loan was granted at a time when the superintendent had already declared bankruptcy.
“I propose that there be a special recall election of this whole damn board, and a criminal investigation into the board for breach of fiduciary responsibility,” one man yelled during the emergency meeting held Tuesday.
“Not only is it wrong, it’s unethical, it is immoral to pay anybody that amount,” a woman added.
For his part, the superintendent said he’s mindful of the needs of the people in his district.
“I do hear you. I’ve listened very carefully, and I will sit and work with the board to deal with your concerns and the concerns they may have, and I think we’ll go through a process,” he said during the meeting.
He continued, claiming he lifted the district from its previously derelict state.
“The facilities here were… my God… some of them were similar to the situation in Haiti,” he said.
Caryn Charles is a high school teacher in Hawthorne, Calif., and she says she has to pay out of pocket for paper for her students while the district lavishes the superintendent with handsome loans and a massive salary.
“It’s really embarrassing as a teacher that we don’t have any paper at our department at our school. With all due respect to all of you, but it’s embarrassing when I have to go to Office Depot and buy paper, and I read that other people don’t have to worry about things like that,” she said.
Sandra Suarez, a former board member, said Fernandez should resign from his post immediately.
“I think the superintendent needs to resign and give back everything he’s taken. It’s morally and ethically wrong, and it’s affecting our children,” she said.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) – which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012 – has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.
“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused – not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.
“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.
In a message published at the beginning of PPNNE’s 2012 annual report, PPNNE President Meagan Gallagher described the genesis of the project that produced the video on bondage and sadomasochism.
“We continued to grow our online presence, and launched an innovative social education project called ‘A Naked Notion’ (anakednotion.org),” wrote Gallagher. “The numbers show that young people took notice – PPNNE’s ‘A Naked Notion’ YouTube channel has been viewed more than a million times!”
The homepage of PPNNE’s website includes a menu of tabs that lead to internal pages. One of these is entitled “For Teens.”
“We are dedicated to protecting the sexual health of teens by providing accurate information, opportunities to explore and establish beliefs and attitudes, and the skills to communicate their needs,” says PPNNE’s “For Teens” page.
“For teens who are sexually involved, Planned Parenthood is committed to providing resources for safeguarding their emotional and physical health,” it says.
The “For Teens” page also includes a tab leading directly to the PPNNE website’s “A Naked Notion With Laci Green” page and also a tab leading to PPNNE’s “Teen Resource Center,” which features a link to the YouTube page for “A Naked Notion With Lace Green.”
In its 2012 annual report, PPNNE said “A Naked Notion” reached “young adults” through Facebook and YouTube. “Launched ‘A Naked Notion; (anakednotion.org), a social media education project, reaching more than 2,300 young adults through Facebook and more than 11,382 on YouTube, where it has garnered more than 1,005,655 views,” said the report.
“A Naked Notion is a brand new project dedicated to frank, open conversations about sexuality,” says the PPNNE webpage for the program. “It stars sex educator Laci Green and is brought to you by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Green is described by PPNNE’s website as a “22 year old San-Franciscan” and a “Sex educator, video blogger, blog blogger, crisis counselor, social scientist, asparagus lover & artichoke dipper.”
One of PPNNE’s Naked Notion videos – “Getting Kinky (BDSM 101)” – features Green telling teenagers that October is “national kink month” and a good time to talk about bondage and sadomasochism.
“According to some random websites, October has been officially declared national kink month,” says Green on the video. “And when you think about it – October and kink–they are kind of a fitting pair. Halloween and kink are both about adventure and fun and exploring rolls and dynamics that are maybe a little bit different from everyday life. So many of the common kinks out there fall under the umbrella of BDSM. You may have heard of BDSM what with all of the 50-Shades-of-Gray craze and sort of getting a lot of attention right now.
“Today,” says Green, “I want to talk about what BDSM is, what it isn’t, and some of the rules that come with it.”
“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” Green says later in the video. “People across the spectrum with various backgrounds participate in BDSM. The pain-is-exhilaration concept is not only old as dirt, it’s pretty common outside the bedroom.”
Before laying out a set of actual rules to follow when engaging in BDSM, Green seeks to reassure her audience that BDSM is not “abuse” and “has rules, limits and boundaries that are respected by all parties.”
“The idea of using power and control and pain in a set scene understandably sets off alarms in some people’s heads,” says Green.
“They hear that BDSM involves spanking and pain and torture – oh, my God, it’s scary stuff,” says Green. “With no further knowledge, it’s easy to conflate BDSM with abuse. But BDSM and abuse are actually very different. BDSM is about a consensual power exchange. Abuse is not. BDSM is negotiated and agreed upon before anything happens. Abuse is not. BDSM has rules, limits and boundaries that are respected by all parties. Abuse does not. BDSM relies upon and creates trust.”
According to PPNNE’s 2012 annual report, it received $2,755,235 million in federal, state, and local funding, which accounted for 15 percent of its $18.9 million annual operating budget. PPNNE also received $255,000 in federal Health Information Technology (HIT) funding.
CNSNews.com called PPNNE president and CEO Meagan Gallagher and Dr. Donna Burkett, the group’s medical director, numerous times over the course of three days to ask why the group thought it was appropriate for a tax-funded organization to promote bondage and sadomasochism to teenagers. A staff member later confirmed that Gallagher received the messages.
A woman answering the phone at the group’s Burlington, Vermont headquarters on Tuesday told CNSNews: “We are currently not commenting or talking to you. At this point, I am going to disconnect” before hanging up the phone.
On Wednesday, CNSNews.com called PPNNE’s office in Burlington again and asked the person who answered the phone to relay this question to Gallagher: “Why is it appropriate for a federally funded organization to produce a video that promotes bondage, sadism and masochism to teens?” The person said that the organization would not be commenting and then hung up the phone.
CNSNews.com also contacted all the members of the New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont congressional delegations and asked them whether they thought it was appropriate for a federally funded organization to produce a video promoting bondage and sadomasochism to teens.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was the only member of Congress to reply. According to spokesman Jeff Grappone, “Senator Ayotte thinks this video, which is clearly targeted at a younger audience, is inappropriate and troubling. She believes taxpayers shouldn’t be directly or indirectly funding activity like this.”
However, despite repeated requests for comment, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), and Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) did not respond.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) also dodged CNSNews.com’s questions.
A student at the University of California, Los Angeles, went off on a bizarre and tearful tirade Wednesday after her colleagues voted to dismiss a student council proposal to boycott, divest from and sanction the Jewish state.
The measure was defeated by a vote of 7-5, according to Legal Insurrection.
After the measure was a defeated, one of its supporters lost her cool and launched into a mostly unintelligible outburst.
“I’ve never been more f***ing disappointed than today,” she cried, rocking back-and-forth in her chair.
After that, she started to moan.
“I’ve never been so f***ing disappointed on anything,” she said, pounding her fist on the table. “We f***ing blew it. I’m sorry.”
“And I’m like, I’m like sorry for blowing up right now. And I’m just so disappointed,” she added. “I don’t understand why, like, it went like that.”
She followed this up with more unintelligible moaning:
“The defeat of the divestment resolution was hailed as a win for opponents of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement, which aims to economically isolate Israel and the Jewish people,” the Washington Free Beacon notes. “It follows a series of defeats for backers of the boycott movement, who continue to be viewed as anti-Semitic fringe activists.”
Ben Shapiro showed up at a UCLA meeting where the undergraduate student government was voting on whether or not to become part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and torched the people there supporting the movement, calling it a “direct manifestation of anti-Semitism.”
As dawn broke, the residents of a quiet neighborhood here readied for battle. Some piled rocks to be used as projectiles. Others built barricades. A pair of teenagers made firebombs as the adults looked on.
These were not your ordinary urban guerrillas. They included a manicurist, a medical supplies saleswoman, a schoolteacher, a businessman and a hardware store worker.
As the National Guard roared around the corner on motorcycles and in an armored riot vehicle, the people in this tightly knit middle-class neighborhood, who on any other Monday morning would have been heading to work or taking their children to school, rushed into the street, hurling rocks and shouting obscenities. The guardsmen responded with tear gas and shotgun fire, leaving a man bleeding in a doorway.
“We’re normal people, but we’re all affected by what’s happening,” said Carlos Alviarez, 39, who seemed vaguely bewildered to find himself in the middle of the street where the whiff of tear gas lingered. “Look. I’ve got a rock in my hand and I’m the distributor for Adidas eyewear in Venezuela.”
The biggest protests since the death of the longtime leader Hugo Chávez nearly a year ago are sweeping Venezuela, rapidly expanding from the student protests that began this month on a campus in this western city into a much broader array of people across the country. On Monday, residents in Caracas, the capital, and other Venezuelan cities piled furniture, tree limbs, chain-link fence, sewer grates and washing machines to block roads in a coordinated action against the government.
Behind the outpouring is more than the litany of problems that have long bedeviled Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest oil reserves but also one of the highest inflation rates. Adding to the perennial frustrations over violent crime and chronic shortages of basic goods like milk and toilet paper, the outrage is being fueled by President Nicolás Maduro’s aggressive response to public dissent, including deploying hundreds of soldiers here and sending fighter jets to make low, threatening passes over the city.
On Monday, the state governor, who belongs to Mr. Maduro’s party, broke ranks and challenged the president’s tactics, defending the right of students to protest and criticizing the flyovers, a rare dissent from within the government.
Polarization is a touchstone of Venezuelan politics, which was bitterly divided during the 14-year presidency of Mr. Chávez, Mr. Maduro’s mentor. But while Mr. Chávez would excoriate and punish opponents, he had keen political instincts and often seemed to know when to back off just enough to keep things from boiling over.
Now Mr. Maduro, his chosen successor, who is less charismatic and is struggling to contend with a deeply troubled economy, has taken a hard line on expressions of discontent, squeezing the news media, arresting a prominent opposition politician and sending the National Guard into residential areas to quash the protests.
Two people were killed on Monday, including a man here in San Cristóbal who, according to his family, fell from a roof after guardsmen shot tear gas at him. There is disagreement on whether all the deaths nationwide cited by the government are directly associated with the protests, but the death toll is probably at least a dozen.
In the neighborhood of Barrio Sucre, residents said they were outraged last week when a guardsman fired a shotgun at a woman and her adult son, sending both to the hospital with serious wounds. In response, the residents built barricades to keep the guardsmen out. On Monday, after guardsmen made an early sortie into the neighborhood, firing tear gas and buckshot at people’s homes, the inflamed and sometimes terrified residents prepared to drive them back.
Across town, Isbeth Zambrano, 39, a mother of two, still fumed about the time two days earlier when the National Guard drove onto the street, where children were playing, and fired tear gas at residents. Now she sat in front of her apartment building, casually guarding a beer crate full of firebombs.
“We want this government to go away,” she said. “We want freedom, no more crime, we want medicine.” Around her neck, like a scarf, she wore a diaper printed with small teddy bears. It was soaked in vinegar, to ward off the effects of tear gas, in case of another attack.
Unlike the protests in neighboring Brazil last year, when the government tried to defuse anger by promising to fix ailing services and make changes to the political system, Mr. Maduro says the protesters are fascists conducting a coup against his government. He has largely refused to acknowledge their complaints, focusing instead on violence linked to the unrest. Here in Táchira State, he says the protests are infiltrated by right-wing Colombian paramilitary groups, and he has threatened to arrest the mayor of San Cristóbal.
Mr. Maduro’s stance is mirrored by the intensity among the protesters. While he has called for a national conference on Wednesday and some opposition politicians have urged dialogue, a majority of protesters here, most of them longtime government opponents, rejected that option.
“They’ve been mocking us for 15 years, sacking the country,” said Ramón Arellano, 54, a government worker, while a burning refrigerator in the street behind him blotted out the sky with a cone of black smoke. “A dialogue from one side while the other turns a deaf ear, that’s not fair.”
Like most of the protesters here, Mr. Arellano said he wanted a change of government. Protesters say that could be achieved by having Mr. Maduro resign, or be removed through a recall election or changes to the Constitution.
Mr. Maduro says he will not leave office, and he continues to have wide support among those loyal to Mr. Chávez’s legacy.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a “peace conference” tomorrow after opposition Governor Henrique Capriles rejected talks with…
I’m no fan of Hugo Chavez, but there is selective memory when people comment that he destroyed the Venezuelan economy. I lived in Venezuela…
I am a leftist (a Social Democrat), and the truth is the Venezuela government is simply populist authoritarian regime cloaked in left wing…
Táchira State, and especially San Cristóbal, the state capital, are longtime opposition strongholds. The opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, received 73 percent of the vote in San Cristóbal when he ran against Mr. Maduro last April.
A city of 260,000, San Cristóbal was almost completely shut down on Monday. Residents had set up dozens of barricades all around town. In many areas, residents set out nails or drove pieces of rebar into the pavement, leaving them partly exposed, to puncture tires.
In Barrio Sucre, Escarlet Pedraza, 19, showed two motorcycles that she said had been crushed by National Guard troops, who drove armored vehicles over them. She recorded the event on her cellphone camera.
Later, residents burned tires and threw rocks at guardsmen, who advanced and entered a side street, firing tear gas and shotguns directly at the houses.
The guardsmen broke open a garage door in one house and smashed the windshield of a car inside. The house next door filled with tear gas and the family inside, including two young children, choked in the fumes. “I’m indignant,” said Victoria Pérez, the mother, weeping. “This is getting out of hand. It’s arrogance, it’s a desire for power.”
A student, his face covered with a cloth, kicked angrily at a house where a pro-government family lives, shouting at them to join the protest. Other residents rushed in to stop him.
Nearby, a neighbor, Teresa Contreras, 53, flipped through the channels on her television, showing that there was no coverage of the violence, a sign, she said, of the government control over the news media.
Earlier, Andrea Altuve, 38, a teacher, watched the preparations for the coming battle, with people adding to barricades and children pouring gasoline into beer bottles for makeshift bombs.
“It looks like a civil war,” she said. “They are sending the National Guard into the neighborhoods out of fear.”