Saturday, rival political factions took to the streets across Venezuela in the mounting struggle for control of the crisis-wracked nation, where US backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó, 35 anni, is attempting to oust socialist President Nicólas Maduro.
It was the 1st march Mr. Guaidó has led since Maduro loyalists stripped him of legal protections he’s granted as a congressman, opening a path to prosecute and possibly arrest him for allegedly violating the constitution.
The rallies also follow crippling power failures that left most of the country scrambling in the dark for days and without running water or phone service.
Speaking before several thousand people who packed a broad Caracas avenue, Mr. Guaidó urged them to stay united and to keep up pressure until President Maduro leaves power.
“Something is evident today,” Mr. Guaidó said. “Venezuela is not afraid and continues taking the streets until we get freedom.”
The regime has made big mistakes.
Venezuela’s once vibrant petroleum industry is in shambles, its broken educational system and hospitals that fail to provide basic care, there is intermittent electrical power, and little food and water.
Venezuela is fighting for liberty.
Many opposition supporters marched along a sunny main avenue carrying Venezuelan flags. Another protester carried a sign listing the lack of power, water and other basic services, along with the slogan: “Don’t get used to it.”
Meanwhile, crowds of President Maduro backers, many dressed in bright red and gathered in the center of Caracas, waved flags and danced around a stage blasting music ahead of a march to the Presidential Palace.
“Let’s fill the streets of Caracas with joy,” President Maduro Tweeted. “Together, in an unending mobilization, we’ll defend our nation’s peace and independence. No more interference!”
Mr. Guaidó arose from relative obscurity in January when he was named head of Venezuela’s opposition-dominated National Assembly and said he was assuming presidential powers to force President Maduro from power. He says Maduro is illegitimate due to allegedly fraudulent elections last year.
He has gained support from Washington and other 50 nations, but he has yet to budge President Maduro, who maintains control over the government and military and is backed by foreign allies including China, Cuba and Russia.
Washington Friday added to pressure on President Maduro by imposing financial sanctions on 2 companies involved in shipping Crude Oil from Venezuela to Cuba, along with nearly 36 ships.
President Maduro blames the recent blackouts on US “cyber-attacks” as part of a coup attempt to topple his government.
Mr. Guaidó, meanwhile, has come under increasing pressure from President Maduro’s government, which recently jailed his Chief of Staff and has taken legal actions that could lead to his own arrest.
President Trump has warned of a strong response if Mr. Guaido’ is harmed.
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