Venezuela government opposition and supporters plan rallies

World Today

Competing protests are planned across Venezuela Wednesday.

Opponents and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro will take to the streets with very different messages.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has more from Caracas.

A growing number of Venezuelans are gathering together for daily open meetings across the country. They said President Nicolas Maduro’s election last May was not fair and they want to force him to step down.

“I consider that what’s happening today is our last wakeup call to make a change. It’s a challenge we must assume for the country’s own good, ” Enrique Navarro an opposition supporter said.

The newly elected president of the opposition controlled National Assembly Juan Guaid is pushing foreign governments and the Venezuelan military to recognize him rather than Maduro as the legitimate head of state.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court stands firmly behind President Maduro and on Monday the court nullified recent anti-Maduro legislation including one measure which accused Maduro of seizing power.

“This is a regime moving forward with its plans, and after today’s decisions I won’t be surprised if more international sanctions are applied to government officials and maybe sanctions to Venezuela’s oil, making the financing of Maduro’s regime even harder,” said Carlos Luna a political analyst.

President Maduro has counted on unconditional loyalty from the Venezuelan military.

There may be cracks in that support. This week, government officials said some National Guard members were detained for launching an uprising at a military post in the Cotiza neighborhood.

President Maduro recently announced a 300 percent increase to the minimum wage, the first increase this year. Still, Venezuelans have one of the lowest salaries in the world about six and a half dollars a month. However, Maduro still has the support of millions of Venezuelans.

“The opposition should be better informed, they need to know Maduro is and will be the only president of Venezuela, because we, the people, chose him to be our president,” said Bethzaida Fajardo a government supporter.

President Maduro’s supporters and those who oppose him both plan to take to the streets on Jan. 23, a national holiday set aside to celebrate six decades of Venezuelan democracy.