The Venezuelan opposition will mark Wednesday to demand that the usurpation of power cease by President Nicolás Maduro, who will mobilize his followers against what he denounces as a continuous coup orchestrated by Washington.
Under strong pressure after the short ascent of a group of soldiers who sparked small protests, government officials and opposition will hold their first major impulse in the streets after the demonstrations that left about 125 dead between April and July 2017 .
Gaining momentum under the young leadership of the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó, the opposition seeks to overcome its fractures and revive its followers, establishing a new road map: "cessation of usurpation, transitional government and free elections ". "We have a historic appointment with our country (…) Venezuela will change, to conquer democracy, this is the moment!", Guaidó said, inviting the population to demonstrate throughout the country.
On the other hand, the Chavistas, which also march in different cities, try to give a boost to the second six-year mandate questioned by Maduro on January 10, considered "illegitimate" by the United States, the European Union (EU) and from several countries of Latin America.
The day before, Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, openly expressed his support for the opposition protests, after which Maduro ordered the Foreign Ministry to review the diplomatic ties with that country. "What the US government has done, through Vice President Mike Pence, to give the order to execute a fascist coup (…) is unparalleled in the history of bilateral relations", the president reacted socialist.
"This does not work!"
Demonstrations take place amid the worst crisis in the modern history of the oil country, that suffers from food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation that the IMF projects in 10,000,000% by 2019.
The economic collapse has caused the exodus of 2.3 million people since 2015, according to the UN, the largest migratory movement for decades in Latin America that has led to outbreaks of xenophobia in countries like Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.
"I go away because this does not work, there is no water, there is no light, there is no transport, the money is not enough, we are deceived with a box Clap (subsidized food) so to be like a sheep, "said Carlos Muñoz at the AFP, in Cotiza, northern district of Caracas.
Yelitze Pariata, 47, who lives in a house that the government gave him in San Martin, in the center of Caracas, said she wants to "march in peace to support the president and show the world that Chavismo is united".
On the eve of the marches, around 30 small protests and clashes took place in and around Caracas. Tuesday night in the popular neighborhoods of Catia and Petare, dozens came out shouting pots and shouting: "Let go Nicolás".
The anti-riot tanks covered sections of the capital. The government has accused Pence of ordering soldiers who rebelled on Monday to hand over weapons to the activists of the People's Will – the party of Guaidó and the imprisoned leader Leopoldo López – to unleash chaos in the marches.
"We leave violence to others, we do not fall into provocation," said Guaidó, whose request for mobilization extends to Venezuelan migrants in several countries.
The army, the key
The spirits were turned on Monday when, in the midst of opposition requests to the Armed Forces to ignore Maduro, 27 armed rebels – and immediately after they were arrested – stole weapons and barricaded themselves in a Cotiza barracks, inviting the Venezuelans to leave in the streets.
According to security experts, the incident highlighted the discontent of the armed forces, given the support of the socialist leader. For Guaidó, who says he is willing to chair a transitional government, the military uprising shows that calls to the military are echoing.
Although the court has declared it with disdain and has annulled all its decisions since 2016, the parliament, which considers Maduro "usurper", approved Tuesday to grant the amnesty to the military who collaborate with a transitional government.
Although the Armed Forces claim to be united, according to the NGO Control Ciudadano about 180 soldiers were arrested in 2018 accused of conspiracy, about 10,000 soldiers requested leave from 2015 and more than 4,000 defected by the National Guard in 2018.
The Organization of American States (OAS), which also declared the "illegitimacy" of the second government of Maduro, will analyze Thursday "the recent events in Venezuela".