Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in cities across the country to protest the Maduro government in the largest such demonstration in months.
Leopoldo Lopez, the jailed leader of the Voluntad Popular opposition party, called for today’s demonstration last week in a video shot inside the Ramo Verde military prison. While the country’s largest opposition bloc, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, announced earlier this week that it could not officially join Lopez’s call to take to the streets due to logistical reasons, Venezuelans nevertheless took to the streets in great numbers in support of the opposition.
Patricia de Ceballos, Daniel Ceballos’ wife, spoke to the crowds in Caracas, saying:
Be strong and faithful, Carcaras; be strong and faithful, Tachira, Venezuela. Today, with a single shout, the people of Venezuela are not asking or begging – they are demanding freedom. Lies don’t get you far, and no lie from the government will divide us. What Nicolas Maduro does not understand is that fear does not divide us. I am willing to give my life for the man that I love. Venezuela breathes airs of change.
Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, summed up the demonstration in Caracas in the following way:
Venezuela is united on a peaceful path. What better demonstration of our rejection of violence than this peaceful protest, without violence? Today, the entire world is watching us. This is a struggle that is taking place not only here in Venezuela, but in all Latin America, Ibero-America.
The Voluntad Popular party estimated that nearly 3,000 people attended the event in the east of Caracas at which Tintori and de Ceballos – among other opposition figures – spoke.
Below, some images from today’s demonstrations:
The mayor of El Hatillo, David Smolansky (right) and Voluntad Popular national coordinator Freddy Guevara:
Somewhere in Carabobo state:
Ceballos Continued to be Denied Visits
Daniel Ceballos, who was recently moved from the Ramo Verde military prison near Caracas to a facility in Guarico state some 150 kilometers away, has been routinely denied visits since his transfer. Today, Miranda state governor Henrique Capriples attempted to visit Cabellaos, but was denied access to him by prison authorities.
Capriles said that a prison official told him that Ceballos must write down the names of the people who are going to visit him, and submit the paper to prison authorities. Capriles explained:
Even though today is visitation day, an officer of the ministry [of prisons] told us [Capriles was accompanied by Enzo Scarano] that we could not enter, because Daniel had to make a list of the people who wanted to visit him. We won’t believe that any country in the world asks prisoners to do that. The government always has new excuses to attack the rights of people it has in custody.
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