Venezuela has marked the anniversary of a popular revolt 24 years ago that left thousands killed. And now, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro says an investigation will be launched to identify the perpetrators of the killings as well as the victims.

Maduro said the government would allocate 1.9 million dollars to the families of the victims. In 1989, thousands of people rioted and looted the streets of Caracas for two days after the implementation of gas hikes and other pro-market neo-liberal polices imposed by the government of Carlos Andres Perez.

Although the official government estimate is that Venezuelan state security forces killed 300 people, the Chavez government says the number is closer to 3,000.

The violent rejection of economic policies backed by the US based International Monetary Fund, opened the door for the then Lt. Col Hugo Chavez's anti- neo-liberal ideas to gain popularity, paving the way for his election to presidency nine years later.

Opposition groups have called the investigations a political ploy by the Chavez government to shore up support.

This was the first time that Hugo Chavez did not attend a commemoration for the Caracazo since he became president. Chavez is continuing his cancer treatment at a military hospital in Caracas. During the rally, students called on the government to clarify about the current conditions of the ailing president.