WASHINGTON — The supporters of the socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro organized a counter-march against the opposition this weekend, after opposition supporters demanded a change in direction of the Venezuelan economy and government.
Reuters reported that after at least three people were killed in violent clashes during the initial round of protests and demonstrations, tensions have again risen to a fever pitch.
The Venezuelan opposition blame Maduro and his government for political repression, high inflation, shortages of basic products like toilet paper or even wine for Communion, as well as skyrocketing crime.
Maduro has called the opposition a bunch of “fascists” since his election over a year ago, succeeding his mentor Hugo Chavez. His supporters cheered him on and chanted “No to fascism” at a pro-Maduro rally.
His response to the opposition protests? “I’m not going to give up one millimeter of the power the Venezuelan people have given me … nothing will stop me from building this revolution which commandant Chavez left us!”
Maduro has banned unauthorized demonstrations by the opposition, and the bloody protest this past week exposed the tension between the Maduro government and the unhappy population.
Opposition supporter Joseph Sandoval, a 24-year-old student, told Reuters that the opposition is being lied about by the government. “They say we’re rich kids, but I’m from a humble family…I represent the majority of Venezuelans who are sick of seeing our country sinking like this.”
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