CARACAS – Hundreds of Venezuelan government supporters took to the streets on Monday protesting what they describe as US imperialism.
Demonstrators made their way downtown, where they listened to speeches by several leaders of the movement launched by the late Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor and political mentor.
Maduro – who a bit more than a month ago escaped an assassination attempt while speaking at a public event – declined to attend the manifestation, in which hundreds of members of the governing leftist PSUV party marched through the streets of the capital.
“All we ask is for them to get their hands out of Venezuela,” the PSUV’s Pedro Carreño told reporters, referring to the United States. “We are telling the empire, the enemies of the motherland and the domestic and international reactionary right, that the people are not willing to be the victim of more threats and persecution.”
The speaker of the PSUV-controlled National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, encouraged the public to “prepare to defend the motherland” from a possible armed attack on the oil-rich country.
“The empire is used to trample over countries,” Cabello said, and accused several Latin American chiefs of state, including Argentina’s Macri, Colombia’s Duque and Brazil’s Temer of being lackeys to imperialism.
The Trump administration called on members of the UN Security Council Monday to stop their support of Maduro, who officials accused of heading a “corrupt regime.”
The US has imposed harsh economic sanctions on Venezuelan officials and President Donald Trump hinted months ago at possible military action against the Maduro government.
Venezuela is currently experiencing an economic crisis, which translates to hyperinflation and shortages, forcing Maduro to launch a series of palliative measures that include price controls, a steep devaluation of the currency and a corresponding 35-fold increase in the minimum wage.