Venezuelans living abroad took to the streets of their cities across the world today in solidarity with the ongoing protests against the Maduro regime in the country. The demonstrations took place under the name “NO+” [“No More” in Spanish], and saw thousands of Venezuelans across the globe come together in groups large and small.
Below, images from the gathering in Toronto, Canada.
A community organizer speaks to the crowd:
The gathering took place across the street from the Eaton Centre, a large shopping mall in the centre of downtown Toronto:
Below, images from other cities.
In Hamburg, Germany, demonstrators sang Venezuelan folk songs. The one they sing in this video is called “Venezuela”. The song is one of the most famous in the country, alongside the national anthem and “Alma Llanera”:
Somewhere in Scotland:
Given the large Venezuelan population in Florida, Miami saw a large crowd:
MUD Denies it is in Talks with PSUV
Yesterday, El Nuevo Herald published an article in which it cited anonymous sources familiar with the case as saying that Maduro was “shaken” by the growing unrest in the country, and that he had reached out to the opposition leadership in order to broker a truce.
According to the article, Maduro was hoping to entice the opposition to call of its current campaign of street protests in exchange for holding regional elections this year. The truce would also see Maduro order the Supreme Court to recognize the National Assembly as a legitimate institution once more under once condition: that parliament approve all of Maduro’s budget requests. Finally, the deal would require the opposition to accept the current makeup of the Consejo Nacional Electoral. The truce would last until the end of 2018, at which point Maduro would promise to hold presidential elections.
News of the possible truce sent shockwaves through social and national media, as commentators generally deplored the idea of the opposition trying to come to an agreement with a dictatorship that has failed to keep promises in the past.
Today, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the opposition bloc, reacted to the article and rejected it as part of a government campaign to plant fear and disorganization in the opposition movement. The comments came from National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara, called the idea that the opposition would stop its campaign of street protests against the regime if regional elections were held “absurd”:
One of the tools that the government wants to us to demobilize [the opposition] and is foster distrust among us, and it has started to plant the idea that (…) if they call for regional elections then all of us will just go home and forget about the fact that there has been a coup d’etat in Venezuela. That is absurd!
For Guevara, the terms of the alleged truce with Maduro are not good enough. He outlined the only terms that the opposition would accept in exchange for stopping its campaign of protests:
[The opposition will stop protesting] when they give the National Assembly its powers back, when all political prisoners are released, when they open a humanitarian corridor and when (…) they hold all elections [regional and presidential].
Guevara stressed that for the opposition to declare victory in its campaign against the Maduro regime, it would need to accomplish all of those tasks, not just one or most. He stressed:
This is about [the regime] doing all of that, not just one thing or another (…) the only reason for us to demobilize away from the streets would be if the Constitution is restored through the [points outlined above].
MUD Reveals 26 Rally Points for Massive April 19 March
The opposition has revealed the location of 26 rally points around Caracas ahead of a demonstration scheduled for Wednesday, April 19. The demonstration has been planned for weeks, and is expected to be one of the largest in Venezuela’s history.
At the same time, the MUD announced that the National Assembly would issue an official statement to the National Bolviarian Armed Forces, the country’s military, on Monday. The content of the statement is not yet known.
The MUD released the image showing the rally 26 rally points:
The goal of the march will be to reach the People’s Defender office in western Caracas. All previous attempts to reach the building have been met with overpowering repression by state authorities.
PSUV Calls for Counter-Protest on April 19
Vice-President Tarek El Aissami called for a counter-protest on April 19 in Caracas, and promised that the “patriotic forces” loyal to the ruling party would flood the streets of the capital with “their commitment to independence and patriotic loyalty”.
Calling for demonstrations on the same day as opposition ones is a common PSUV tactic. However, unlike in previous occassions, El Aissami acknowledged that the opposition is also holding a demonstration in Caracas that day. El Aissami said:
We respect those who have called [for a protest on April 19], but they also have to understand that on that day Caracas will be overflowing from end to end with the love of a people that is going to reaffirm its commitment with the revolution.
At the same time, El Aissami said that April 19 is a day that should be reserved for “patriotic” events, not “treacherous” ones. April 19 is the 207th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Venezuela.
Speaking on the unrest that has gripped the country over the last two weeks, El Aissami said that “a large portion of the right-wing leaders” are involved in “terrorist acts” against the Venezuelan state, and warned that opposition “shock troops” would be deployed in Caracas during Wednesday’s demonstration.
15-Year-Old Charged in Murder of Olymian’s Mother
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of Flor Marina Castro de Vidal, the mother of Venezuelan Olympian Rafael Vidal. Vidal captured Venezuela’s hearts and became an inspiration for the country’s youth when he became the first Venezuelan swimmer to win an Olympic medal, at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
On Monday, the body of 79-year-old Castro was found inside her home in El Hatillo, Miranda state. Castro had suffered blunt force trauma to her forehead and several items were stolen from the home, suggesting a break-and-enter gone wrong.The body was found by Castro’s daughter.
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