ABOUT 100 demonstrators gathered yesterday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, near the Embassy of Venezuela on Victoria Avenue, in a show of solidarity for that country’s National Assembly president Juan Guaidó.
They rallied simultaneously with an operation led by Guaidó and military forces to topple Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro. Anglican priest Padre Jesus Latam led the gathering in prayer and hymns, which was followed by chants of “Maduro Out” and “Viva Guaidó”.
Several demonstrators interviewed yesterday expressed hope that Guaidó’s and the military’s actions would bring an end to the suffering faced by millions as a result of economic and political instability.
One demonstrator, Maria Rodriguez, who is married and has been living in TT for 15 years, took issue with the media’s widely reported description of yesterday’s event as a “coup”.
“It is not a coup,” she said. “Guaidó is trying to put back the constitutional order in Venezuela. To my eyes and according to the constitution, he’s the legal president.
Another TT resident from Venezuela, who asked to remain anonymous, added: “Today is already a great day. We’ve been waiting for something to happen. I know a lot of Venezuelans are putting all the responsibility on Guaidó but if the people don’t come out (there would be no impact), but they did, so it’s a win-win situation today. It’s the beginning of the end.”
She said the protests in Venezuela must continue today for Guaidó’s actions to succeed.
“(Protests have to continue) until there are still very strong statements where Maduro is forced to resign, and he’s been given some negotiations to go to Cuba or Russia or wherever, but we hope that it end peacefully and that Maduro doesn’t bring out his (foreign forces) any more.”
She said because Venezuelans have been victims of persecution in TT, an even smaller gathering was expected.
“Trinidad and Tobago does not recognise the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) status of refugees, so even with that status, Venezuelans are being taken to prison.
“In fact, I had calls from people who said, they wanted to show up but chose not to because when they go back home (in Trinidad), police can be anywhere and take them.”