Venezuelans in TT protest
By Clint Chan Tack Monday, June 3 2013
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Scores of Venezuelan nationals living in TT yesterday held a rally at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, to highlight some of the problems thei...
A group of Venezuelan nationals living in Trinidad and Tobago yesterday called upon citizens of this country to do all in their power to protect their democracy. Citing numerous hardships taking place in Venezuela under the administration of President Nicolas Maduro, they warned that what is happening in Venezuela could happen in TT too, if this country’s citizens are not vigilant.
Assembling at the Queen’s Park Savannah close to the National Academy for the Performing Arts, they chanted, “Capriles won! Venezuela for the truth!” Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles is currently challenging the results of the April general election which was won by Maduro.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar attended the state funeral of Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez on March 8 and congratulated Maduro on his election victory on April 16. Speaking on behalf of her fellow nationals, Ruth Albornoz told reporters yesterday’s rally was “a call for justice.” Asked what help they wanted from the TT Government, Albornoz replied, “The only thing we want from the Government is for support in a sense of keep an eye open because things like this can happen.”
Saying that yesterday Venezuelan nationals were engaging in the same activity in 50 capitals in other parts of the world, Albornoz said, “Right now it is Venezuela but tomorrow it can be your country.” Noting there are over 2,000 to 3,000 Venezuelan nationals living in TT, Albornoz said a similar rally was held ten years ago in this country to protest injustices taking place under Chavez’s government.
“Ten years later, things are getting worse and worse. What you get from the government is what they want you to see but that is not the truth,” she said. Albornoz said right now Venezuelans are suffering from critical shortages of basic items such as toilet paper and toothpaste and even basic health care for the population is a problem.
“Even the (Roman Catholic) Church does not have wine and bread. A lot of things are happening in our country and we want the Trinidadians to support us in this thing,” Albornoz said. She added that living in Venezuela today “is like living in Cuba. Cuba is developing and we are going back years,” she said.
Albornoz said she would be grateful if the local business community were to act on Persad- Bissessar’s suggestion of supplying items like toilet paper to her fellow Venezuelans. However, she said no one has spoken to them about doing that. Saying there was a proposal to send 15 million rolls of toilet paper to Venezuela, her country’s population is 30 million people. “It is not even enough,” she said.
Albornoz said right now Venezuela is attempting to fill the shortages of items by seeking help from countries like China, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Chinese President Xi Jinping left TT yesterday at the end of a two-day State visit.
She also said Capriles cannot speak to the Venezuelan people because the only television station which supported the opposition was sold and opposition representatives have been physically assaulted inside of Venezuela’s parliament. “If we are supposed to live in a democracy, these kinds of things are not supposed to happen,” Albornoz said.