Austin company updating app for blocked Venezuelans

AUSTIN (KXAN)- It’s been a week since protests have erupted in Venezuela over unemployment, rises in violent crime and surging inflation.

A local group against the Venezuelan regime gathered on the UT campus Saturday.

“The things that are really going on out in the street are being leaked out through social media. #SOSVenezuela is a hashtag that is being used world wide backhome and also outside to share everything that is going on, said UT professor Jose LaTorre.

One way protestors had been keeping in touch with each other was an app called Zello. It acts like a two-way radio.

It’s the product of an Austin startup.

The Venezuelan government has blocked it’s use in the country.

Zello’s CEO Bill Moore said they’re about to issue a counter-punch for the protestors.

“Our development team spent all day, you know, 24 hours working to get a version of the app out to replace the one that was blocked the day before,” said Moore. “It’s obviously very important. We feel a great responsibility and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that people can still communicate.”

Tens of thousands gathered to protest Saturday in Venezuela. Dozens of activists have been arrested since demonstrations began.

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