Venezuelans in Hudson County gather to support opposition in homeland

College students have been leading the protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. They say they want not only democracy, but an end to high crime and high inflation. Eight people have been killed in the clashes. (2/22/14)

WEST NEW YORK - Members of the Venezuelan community gathered in Hudson County today to support protests in their homeland against the socialist government, which have recently turned violent.

College students have been leading the protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. They say they want not only democracy, but an end to high crime and high inflation. Eight people have been killed in the clashes.

Maduro has blamed the right wing opposition as well as the United States, claiming that diplomats used a visa program to meet with protesters about training and financing.

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In Hudson County, Maduro's image is mocked on T-shirts and he's being compared to his ally, Fidel Castro in Cuba.

"These aren't just Venezuelans protesting. You've got Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Cubans all coming together," said Felix Roque, mayor of West New York. “You have a group of students trying to rebel against this dictatorship and it hits me at the heart. I came from Cuba because of the same reason.”

Elizabeth Bautista, whose cousin was among the college students who was shot and survived, says the U.S. should not turn a blind eye to the violence.

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