Venezuelan Students Want Violence To End, Economy To Improve

Feb 25, 2014
Originally published on February 25, 2014 8:06 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Those demonstrations in Venezuela began with student protesters. Juan Requesens is one of the main leaders.

JUAN REQUESENS: The subject of the student movement is to ask for life's quality: for justice, for liberty, for democracy. The quality of life for the Venezuelan people is right now on the floor.

MONTAGNE: Requesens says he's open to a dialogue with President Maduro and his government, but not until the violence against the student protesters stops.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, Requesens doesn't deny that protesters have instigated at times by setting fires to block roads, but he says the government's response has been disproportionate.

REQUESENS: The government has been telling that because we put some blocks in the road, they can kill us. They can shoot us. I don't think that is constitutional, and it's a clear violation of the human rights.

MONTAGNE: The movement has a list of demands.

GREENE: They want the government to free jailed members of the opposition.

MONTAGNE: And to allow peaceful protests.

GREENE: Requesens says the end goal is not another revolution. It's also not to replace Maduro with the current opposition leader, Enrique Capriles.

REQUESENS: I don't care if it's Maduro, if it's Chavez, if it's Enrique. My problem is that this government don't make more abuse.

MONTAGNE: Until then, Juan Requesens says you can expect to find him marching in the streets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.