The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, spoke this Tuesday (23) during an event to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the end of the dictatorship in the country and mocked former deputy Juan Guaidó. “Today marks five years since we have had a real president. Long live Juan Guaidó!”, joked the president.
On the same date, in 2019, the then opposition parliamentarian tried to carry out a coup d’état in the country and proclaimed himself president, being immediately recognized by the United States, then governed by Republican Donald Trump.
During this Tuesday’s event, which was attended by thousands of people in the capital Caracas, Maduro asked: “after five years, where is Guaidó and where am I?” The former congressman now lives in Miami and lost his leadership of the Venezuelan opposition coalition called the Unitary Platform.
::What’s happening in Venezuela::
The president also cited the coup d’état plans that were investigated by the Public Ministry and dismantled last year. Maduro said that the people took to the streets this Tuesday to show “who is in charge of Venezuela” and that, if they suffer an attack, they will leave it in the hands of Venezuelans to “do what has to be done”.
The president of the National Assembly, Jorge Rodriguez, also participated in the demonstration and stated that the workers supported Maduro “in building the future and a welfare state that was stolen from us by imperialism”.
Marches and ‘countermarches’
Government supporters and opponents took to the streets this Tuesday to celebrate the end of the dictatorship of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1958), in events with the tone of an electoral campaign. On the Chavista side, protesters gathered in Parque del Este and walked along Francisco de Miranda Avenue to the center of Caracas. In addition to the capital, government acts were registered in at least five more states: Carabobo, Aragua, Cojedes, Monagas and Barinas.
This is the first act in a series of pro-government mobilizations. The demonstrations will take place until February 4th and include the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Chávez’s inauguration, on February 2nd. The ruling PSUV party is preparing to end this cycle of mobilizations with a caravan that will leave from different regions of the country to Caracas.
According to the Venezuelan government, a second phase of street demonstrations will be held from February 12th to March 5th. The vice-president of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), Diosdado Cabello, stated, in a press conference on Monday (22), that the demonstrations will be daily during this period.
On the opposition side, the demonstration began at 10:30 am (local time) in Praça Altamira, east of the capital. Opposition presidential pre-candidate María Corina Machado presented what she called the Grand National Alliance (Ghana) for the 2024 electoral process.
In a speech, Corina said that this project is a “great platform in defense of the vote” and took the opportunity to attack Maduro: “[O presidente] He talks a lot about elections, but he’s terrified of elections. The mandate that the people gave me on October 22nd [primárias] It is to confront and defeat this regime in elections and we will achieve this until the end”, he said.
The opposition group also criticized the setting up of a space for government supporters in the same place where the Vente Venezuela demonstration was concentrated. In a video published on social media, Maria Corina also stated that several offices of her political group were sprayed with graffiti with threats from Chavistas. In the images released by the ultraliberal pre-candidate, the sidewalk of a house reads “Bolivarian Fury” — the name of the plan launched by Maduro last Thursday (18) to dismantle attacks “promoted by international organizations” in Venezuela.
The Unitary Platform coalition asked, in a note, to define a date for the presidential elections, which should take place in October. The holding of the election was agreed between the government and opposition during a dialogue table in Barbados at the end of last year.
Editing: Lucas Estanislau