SAN CRISTOBAL, VENEZUELA – MARCH 11: Students building anti-government barricades on March 11, 2014 in San Cristobal, the capital of Tachira state, Venezuela. Shortage of such products as flour, milk and sugar have made life increasingly difficult for residents of Tachira, which has been a focal point for anti-government protests for almost a month. Over the past few weeks and months there has been increasing unrest within Venezuela against the leadership and government of President Maduro. The protests have been driven by supporters of the opposition, but predominantly by students, and have seen pro-government marches and violence in response, with increasing levels of bloodshed, and deaths on both sides (official figures say 31 but reports on the ground suggest the number could be significantly higher). With the world watching on, and some neighboring Latin American countries speaking out against the actions of the Venezuelan government in their crackdown on the protests, the situation looks like it will get worse before it gets better. President Maduro has increasingly accused the protestors of being armed extremists trying to stage a coup, has used the police and armed forces to clamp down on them, and is carrying out a policy of rounding up and arresting any leading figures in the protest movement. Venezuela is experiencing the worst political crisis of its recent history. The economic crisis, shortages, levels of violence and political persecution have divided the country. Nicolas Maduro’s government is being accused by the opposition of systematically violating human rights and freedoms of the Venezuelan people. They accuse the government of abducting state institutions and to turn Venezuela into one of the worst political regimes in the world. At present, the international community views with concern the Venezuelan crisis and especially the situation of political prisoners.