Yes, the govt has shown every intention of escalating. Barring a military revolt, protesters simply don't have the weapons to match the level of force, but some are already becoming desperate and this could very well turn into a civil war soon.
And as the other reply stated, you completely omitted the part about irregularities.
How can Maduro possibly explain this with a straight face other than to admit that currency controls and confiscation of private property for redistribution to his supporters is not the way forward to economic prosperity?
State-controlled media, which is all most people have access to, have kept pumping propaganda about how the downturn is due to an "economic war" waged by the capitalists to damage the government. Over 15 years the govt has managed to create a polarized climate where, if you disagree with the government, you're lying b/c you're a CIA shill. The poor are inclined to believe the government not just because of the 24/7 propaganda, but because they're uneducated and the government very overtly gives them minor aid (while screwing them behind their backs using mechanisms they don't understand). It's a tragedy.
I have no idea of what other party are you implying might benefit? Is Google expanding Fiber to South America?
Most of what you may want to ask is probably already covered here, tho: http://caracaschronicles.com/2...
BTW, full Internet shutdown seems to be in effect only in San Cristobal. In most other places, you can bypass the blocks by using the Tor Browser.
As news of the protests are not televised, for most Venezuelans Twitter and Facebook are their only means of obtaining real-time information.
Despite a progressive worsening of civil and human rights, governments of the world have shied away from directly labeling Maduro a dictator or demanding the OAS' Democratic Charter be activated. Will open censorship be the tipping point?"