Venezuela Protests News: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon Urges Maduro To ‘Listen to Protesters’

Ban Ki-moon.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Reuters

UN Secretary of State Ban Ki-moon has called for the government of Nicolas Maduro to listen to the demands made by the protesters that have overtaken Caracas in recent weeks during the 25th meeting of the UN's Human Rights Council. The Korean leader said he "urged venezuelan authorities to listen to the legitimate aspirations of those protesting." The meeting took place in Geneva on Monday and was attended by Venezuelan Chancellor Elias Jaua. 

Venezuela has been in midst of turmoil for weeks after student-led protests overtook Caracas on February 12. However, Ban Ki-moon made no mention of the National Peace Conference, a meeting organized by Maduro to attempt to bring the protests to an end: the Conference was boycotted by all opposition leaders. “What is the peace conference about?" asked Henrique Capriles. "He (Maduro) wants to invite people, sit them down, speak about peace, put some music on, and then solve the problem." 

Venezuela's protests began on February 12, 2014 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Victoria, an important battle during Venezuela's War of Independence in which students acted as armed militia to protect the city of Victoria against Spanish troops in 1814. It is also known as Venezuela's Youth Day. Protests continued in the days following, with a second large, city-wide protest organized on Saturday, February 15. So far 18 people have died and 700 have been arrested.

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Oscar Lopez is a Brooklyn-based writer. Originally from Mexico, Oscar moved with his family to Australia in 2000. Graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a BA (Honors) Oscar was awarded the Keith Macartney Scholarship for the Arts, the Louise Homfrey Award and the Hannah Barry Memorial Award. As well as reporting for Latin Times, Oscar's writng has been featured in Newsweek, New York Magazine (nymag.com) and Musee Magazine.