Thousands of people took part in a demonstration and formed a human chain in the main avenues and plazas of Caracas on August 7. This action, initiated and promoted by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), was a show of support for peace in the Latin American region and friendly relations between the peoples of Colombia and Venezuela.
The mobilisations were aimed to endorse the actions of President Hugo Chavez, who broke off diplomatic relations with the outgoing Colombian government in the face of its dubious allegations that Venezuela was harbouring Colombian insurgent groups.
Participants started to gather from early in the morning at the various points in the city corresponding to five electoral districts. Telesur reported that at least 20,000 people attended the event.
Among those taking part were various leaders of the PSUV including mayor of Caracas Jorge Rodriguez; candidates for the national assembly in the September 26 elections, such as Freddy Bernal, Dario Vivas and Andreina Tarazon; and representatives from the government, such as the minister for university education, Edgardo Ramirez.
The speakers highlighted the desire of Venezuelans for peace, harmony and friendship between the peoples of Latin America. They also rejected the aggression of the oligarchies as well as US intervention in the region. PSUV youth leader Carlos Sierra said Venezuelans feel “very excited, full of happiness and love because Venezuela once more ratifies its commitment to peace with the Latin American and Caribbean region. We are a country of peace”.
The demonstration included participation by members of the 4.5 million-strong Colombian community in Venezuela. They said the internal conflict in Colombia had driven them to take refuge in Venezuela, and that a negotiated agreement was necessary to end the decades-long war.
Chavez echoed these sentiments on August 8 on his weekly television program, Alo Presidente. He called for both the Colombian guerrillas and the newly-inaugurated Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos to work towards a negotiated peaceful settlement.