Venezuela's massive anti-Maduro protests are a staggering sight to behold


After months of food shortages, electricity bans and the world's highest inflation rate, Venezuelans flooded the streets of Caracas on Thursday to call for President Nicolas Maduro's ouster.

The protests, dubbed "the taking of Caracas" by participants, were organized by the those who oppose Maduro's unpopular leftist regime, according to the New York Times.

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Marchers flooded the city's streets by the thousands in support of a recall referendum that would unseat the president. By Friday, a petition had collected enough signatures to set the recall process into motion.

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Years of bad policy and mismanaged funds by Maduro's government have driven the country into dire straits economically, despite Venezuela being home to the world's largest oil reserves. 

One protestor, 35-year-old Nelson Rivas, told the Los Angeles Times that nothing could have prevented him from marching on Thursday — not even the fact that he is wheelchair-bound.

Fernando Llano/AP

"I came to demand that the recall election take place according to the constitution," Rivas said. "Whatever your point of view, the condition of the country is the worst."

"We're hungry in Venezuela. We can't stand it anymore," a 56-year-old man named Antonio told NBC. "We're dying because of criminality and shortages. We need just one thing: the recall referendum to fire Maduro."