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February 18, 2014 AT 6:59 PM
In front and inside the El Arepazo restaurant in Miami, Florida on Tuesday, a crowd of Venezuelan-Americans gathered to monitor the news from the country that many left years ago. Ernesto Ackerman, a member of the Independent Venezuelan American Citizens, said "It's gotten really worrisome. We want to call attention to what is happening to our students in Venezuela." Ackerman was referring to the demonstrations and clashes there, which have resulted in four deaths and increasing tension in the country. Across the U.S., Venezuelan-Americans have been holding rallies, getting together and frantically checking Twitter, Facebook and other media for news about their loved ones. "The weapon we have is the Internet," said Mireya Granadillo, who is in almost daily contact with friends and relatives from her home in Miami. She said she has heard from friends in Venezuela, who say that their phones are blocked in certain blocks of Caracas around the protests.