Latin America

Venezuela's woes deepen after turbulent weekend: Reports

Jackson Burke
A bank note with the face of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and the word "devaluated" at a market in Caracas.
Jorge Silva | Reuters

Venezuela's civil strife appeared to deepen over the weekend, with at least one man killed and 60 others arrested during riots, local media reported.

Amid riots and looting of supermarkets in Venezuela's port city of Ciudad Guayana on Friday, local newspaper Correo del Caroni reported that police officials confirmed the identity of the deceased as Gustavo Patinez, 21.

Amateur videos posted to social media Friday appeared to show several dozen looters rushing into stores in the San Felíx district of Ciudad Guayana, pulling items from the shelves and fleeing.

State Governor Francisco Rangel Gómez, a member of President Nicolás Maduro's United Socialist Party, told Venezuelan news network Globovisión that the riots were the work of outside agitators.

"Nobody is starving here," he said, "there is no excuse for this to happen, this was not spontaneous... I am sure that this (was) for political purposes, planned by a gang of at least 40 bikers."

The steep drop in the price of international oil has sent Venezuela's civil society into a tailspin. Brent crude ended the month of July down a whopping 18 percent at $52.21 a barrel. Separately, the country's currency, the bolivar, has swooned, trading near 700 per U.S. dollar on the black market.