The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) held marches across the country today in a show of organization that National Assembly Freddy Guevara qualified as evidence that the people of Venezuela could “take key points” of cities across the country if the need ever arose to do so.
Unlike the standard opposition march that seeks to reach a government building–typically the local People’s Defender office–this march had different goals depending on the region in which the demonstration took place. For example, while in Caracas the goal was to reach an important interchange in the highway that connects the city to La Guaira, in Carabobo state the destination was the Carabobo Field, which was the site of a decisive revolutionary war battle in 1821.
For Guevara, today’s marches are evidence of an important level of organization:
Today, aside from having conducted great mobilizations throughout Venezuela–even on horseback and on tractors and in different places–we also found key points that we could take in the event that Nicolas Maduro goes crazy and acts irresponsibly.
According to El Nacional, Guevara appears to have been referencing the fact that many of today’s marches took place along vital roadways throughout the country. For example, in Zulia state, protesters made it onto the Rafael Urdaneta bridge, which spans across the Maracaibo river and connects the state’s capital to the rest of the country. Similarly, in the central region of the country, demonstrators mobilized onto the Central Regional Highway, the main road that connects Caracas to the western half of the country.
Guevara hinted at at why this exercise might be important one day by suggesting that protesters could lock the entire country down:
It’s up to the people who are maintaining president Nicolas Maduro in power to make sure that this does not happen again for longer. They could make things different and turn this into a celebration so that people from abroad can come back to Venezuela.
Today’s mobilizations marked the 43rd day of protests in Venezuela this year. On the ongoing struggle, Guevara said:
Many have been detained and many have been killed. It has been hard. Who said that defeating a dictatorship would be easy? But whenever one of you wonders if we are making progress or not, ask yourselves if Nicolas Maduro is stronger or weaker [today].
Below, some images from today’s demonstrations.
Demonstrators on horseback in Portuguesa state:
Unlike previous demonstrations which typically take place on foot, this one involved vehicles. In Caracas, caravans moved west through the city until reaching an important interchange on the highway connecting the capital to the city of La Guaira:
Below, protesters in Aragua on the Central Regional Highway:
Video Captured Defiant Maria Corina Machado Leading March
A video recorded at a demonstration today captured a defiant Maria Corina Machado leading a group of protesters forward on a highway in Aragua state. Machado is the head of the Vente Venezuela opposition party.
In the video, Machado calmly explains to a group of retreating National Guard soldiers that they are all on the same side, and that the protests are fighting for them, too.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Machado: Soldiers! This struggle is for you. This struggle is for your children. Abandon your weapons. Abandon your weapons. You know that we’re doing this to unite Venezuela, to save Venezuela. You know this! You know it. Or is it that you have food at home? Or food at your barracks? Are you well-armed? Well-equipped? How are your boots? Your ammunition?
By God! This is a struggle to save Venezuela, and we need you! Abandon your weapons!
Statue of Chavez Burned in Pariaguan
A statue of Hugo Chavez was torn down and burned to ashes overnight in the city of Pariaguan, Anzoategui state.
Below, an image of the statue burning:
This morning, all that remained of the statue was a pile of ash:
Below, an image of the statue as it once looked:
Hundreds March Against Regime in Toronto
Hundreds of demonstrators marched against the Maduro regime in Toronto, Canada today in an event that was originally scheduled by the Venezuelan consulate in the city. Even though the consulate’s event was mysteriously cancelled, demonstrators still turned up with signs and Venezuelan flags to bring awareness of the Venezuelan crisis to Torontonians.
The march was hastily scheduled when news broke around mid-week that the Venezuelan consulate in Toronto would host an event in the city called the “Great Meeting of Venezuelans in Toronto to Support Peace in Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution and the Constituent [Assembly]”. The official poster advertising the event contained a poorly-photoshopped image that was manipulated to show opposition protesters in Venezuela holding firearms.
Following an outpouring of condemnation through social media, the consulate replaced the image with a non-doctored picture of a protest in Venezuela, then removed advertisement for the event altogether, and then claimed that its website had been hacked.
The event that the consulate had planned did not take place.
Instead, hundreds of indignant Venezuelans and well-wishers from elsewhere congregated at the park and waved signs to raise awareness about the crisis in the country.
Below, images from the event.
The demonstrators posed by a statue located in the centre of the park:
After singing the national anthem, the demonstrators marched around Queen’s Park:
At the end of the march, the demonstrators gathered by the park’s central statue once more and held an assembly. The purpose of the assembly was to brainstorm other demonstration events, as well as ways to somehow help people in Venezuela:
You can watch a video of the march at Queen’s Park here.
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