Guaido calls for national ‘Operation Freedom’ protests

World Today

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country’s rightful interim ruler, attends a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, April 6, 2019. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Rival protests filled the streets of Venezuela’s capita as self-declared, interim president Juan Guaido has called for national demonstrations to put pressure on the Maduro government.

The rallies come as millions of Venezuelans experience power cuts and water shortages.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas filed this report from Caracas.

While addressing thousands of his supporters in Caracas, Guaido said these latest protests represent the first steps toward what he’s calling “Operation Freedom.”

Protesters have said they want to send a strong signal to the Venezuelan government that they’re not going to tolerate power cuts or water, food, and medical shortages for much longer.

This weekend’s rival protests will lead to more nationwide protests next Wednesday. Guaido wants to double the number of people out in the streets. He’s threatening not to stop until President Nicolas Maduro steps down.

The Venezuelan government also called on its supporters to take to the streets Saturday to defend Venezuela’s democracy. The government has accused Guaido of inciting violence, and leading a coup with the help of the U.S.

A month of nationwide blackouts has resulted in power rationing by the Venezuelan government. Just three states, including Caracas, will be exempt from the three hours of daily rationing, which the rest of the country is being subjected to.

Next week, members of the European Union parliament and the security council from the United Nations will hold meetings to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government said it’s prepared to defend the country.