Venezuela: Thousands march against right-wing threat

September 12, 2016

Caracas, September 7.

Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas and other major cities across the country on September 7, calling for peace in their country and rejecting right-wing opposition plans to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The march was called by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and joined by civil society groups and grassroots movements.

PSUV first vice-president Diosdado Cabello said that the government and revolutionary people must remain on the streets to defend peace and national stability.

Meanwhile, hundreds of right-wing opposition members gathered in the city of Los Teques, capital of Miranda State to demand the National Electoral Council (CNE) speed up a recall referendum against Maduro.

Hard line opponents like Maria Corina Machado have called for “civil disobedience” if the CNE does not allow the referendum before the end the year. The electoral body, however, ruled that a vote would not be possible until next year.

On September 1, the opposition held a mass demonstration in Caracas, which they promoted as the “taking of Caracas”, centred on demands for ousting Maduro's socialist government. Thousands of anti-government protesters flooded the streets of the capital amid widespread economic problems.

Authorities said they managed to prevent violence and a coup planned for that day. Officials also reported that intelligence forces seized different calibre guns, explosives and other weapons they said were to be used for targeted killings of state officials and activists supportive of the Maduro administration.

Although it was not reported by Western mainstream media outlets, thousands of pro-government supporters also staged a large counter-rally to defend Maduro.

Under the Venezuelan constitution, a recall referendum would have to be held by January 10 for new presidential elections to be triggered. However, the right-wing opposition did not begin gathering signatures from citizens in support of the recall referendum in a timely fashion to ensure a referendum before the end of the year. Based on previous experiences, the process takes several months from beginning to end.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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