The government is squeezing critical TV, blocking websites and even cutting off the internet. Here's how Venezuelans abroad are helping protesters cope.
A Venezuelan protester lights a fire during clashes with riot police in Caracas on Feb. 20. (Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)
BOGOTA, Colombia — As anti-government protesters descended on Caracas’ main plaza this week, marcher Eiker Ramirez called a Venezuelan living in neighboring Colombia and asked her what was happening.
His friend here, 24-year-old university student Yoselie Gonzalez, checked her Twitter feed.
“They’ve got the whole avenue militarized,” Gonzalez told him via cellphone.
She warned Ramirez to avoid possible clashes between opposition demonstrators and government forces or the armed militia supporters of President Nicolas Maduro, after a wave of violence over the past week has left eight confirmed dead.
“You’ve got to go through the other way. There isn’t any other route,” she said…
This Andean nation produces no coca leaves, but more than 100 tons of cocaine cross its borders every year.
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Ecuadorean police seized this homemade narco submarine, which travels at 10 mph, has no oxygen tanks and can dive for just 15 minutes. PHOTO BY: Simeon Tegel
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — If smuggling cocaine onto an airplane sounds dicey, then imagine navigating 2,000 miles on the open sea in a homemade submarine with half a ton of the white stuff and no oxygen tanks.
This 30-foot fiberglass sub can dive just 15 feet and stay under for a maximum of 15 minutes — barely long enough for passing coastguard patrols to disappear. It has no toilet, kitchen or, for that matter, legroom.
Even four months after Ecuadorean police captured it at a clandestine dock deep in a mangrove forest, the smell of diesel fumes inside the vessel is overpowering.
The submersible highlights this nation’s burgeoning reputation as a transit point for cocaine out of the Andes and o…