Published on WSJ.com on Feb. 21, 2014
1. Tension is nationwide, across classes.
The demonstrations started in Tachira state, but soon spread to the capital–and back again. At least seven people have died. Much of the support for the protest movement still comes from the upper and middle classes, analysts note. However, the sheer size of the demonstrations suggests more broad-based participation. While past protests largely focused on contested election results, demonstrators now are clamoring for change to address the economic crisis, high inflation and rising crime, all of which affect the poor the most. Protesters have “reached a threshold of pain” in terms of the economic imbalances that have resulted in inflation and shortages, says Siobhan Morden, head of Latin America strategy at Jefferies in New York, who adds the protests are “at a turning point.”