Marches are expected in the streets of Venezuela’s cities today in a visible test of the opposition to the rule of President Maduro. Maduro supporters are due to march through downtown Caracas in a show of strength. The dueling events are a demonstration of the tensions currently tearing at the nation.
TNB reported on the defection of one of the country’s Supreme Court Judges to the US a few weeks ago, where he warned of the ever-growing authoritarianism. In the intervening days, the situation has worsened.
Juan Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly, has developed into the face of the opposition to Maduro. From ABC News:
In the run-up to Wednesday’s actions, the defiant 35-year-old lawmaker has crisscrossed Caracas attending outdoor assemblies known as “Open Cabildos” — for the revolutionary citizen councils held against Spanish colonial rule — pumping up crowds by arguing that Maduro must go for democracy to be restored.ABC
Guaido has received support from an array of international leaders, from the United States, to strong nationalists like Brazil’s Bolsonaro, to the head of the Organization of American States, to the Democrat governor of Puerto Rico. Russia, China, and Iran were among the handful of countries which recognized Maduro’s election as valid, with only Nicaragua and Cuba among its neighboring countries.
Both leaders have faced physical threats recently. Guaido was dragged from his SUV and detained by intelligence forces last week.
On Monday, a coup was attempted by a small group of military forces. Maduro, in response, has announced that there will be an unspecified revision of diplomatic relations with the United States, which he has blamed in the past for assassination and coup attempts.
The hashtag #Venezuela has been used to show support for the incarcerated coup participants, and it is now being used to promote the nationwide rallies expected today. They have support from most American politicians, from Republicans to Democrats and through most independent and secondary parties. An example can be provided through Marco Rubio, who has been vocal about Maduro:
The marches today are considered a possible flashpoint to major violence. Maduro is attempting to paint the unrest in his country as due to American interference rather than widespread poverty, hyperinflation, and violent authoritarian rule.