Thousands rally as Venezuela deals with economic downturn

World Today

In the face of economic recession and a crumbling economy, Venezuela’s polarized political groups held duel rallies focused on the financial crisis. CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reported this story from Caracas.

Venezuela’s warring political factions took to the streets to defend their leaders, as the country is in midst of recession and a deep economic crisis.

Thousands rally as Venezuela deals with economic downturn

In the face of economic recession and a crumbling economy, Venezuela's polarized political groups held duel rallies focused on the financial crisis. CCTV America's Martin Markovits reported this story from Caracas.

At a rally on Friday Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated that Venezuela’s opposition, and the right wing, have long planned to violently topple his government.

Over the weekend, three former South American presidents participated in a pro-democracy symposium organized by the opposition.

Maduro criticized their plans to attempt to visit jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who was arrested nearly a year ago for leading massive anti-government protests. More than 40 people were killed during those demonstrations. Maduro warns the former leaders’ visit could result in a coup.

“Now I want to tell former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, I want to tell president of right-wing Pinochet-era Sebastian Pinera and I want to tell the former President of Colombia Andres Pastrana they can enter Venezuela but it must be known, they come to Venezuela to support a right-wing group who does not recognize this government and is calling for a bloody coup d’etat,” President Maduro said.

Members of Venezuela’s opposition held their first demonstration on Saturday to protest high inflation and the shortage of basic staples, which has caused massive lines. They hope to re-energize, the opposition movement which last year resulted in the county’s biggest anti government protests in more than two decades.

But compared to last year’s marches, turnout at Saturday’s opposition march was much lower than expected.

A sign that many Venezuelans are weary of the country’s politicians and their promise to make change after a year of economic crisis.

Opposition protesters at the march, were in defiance in wanting for a change in Venezuela’s leadership.
“This cannot last. We don’t have the resources to survive. For example we don’t have medicines, diapers, sugar,” Mercedes Sanchez, opposition protester said. “We are in a very difficult situation.”

Maduro said he respects free speech, but the visit of the former presidents is an interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs.