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Solidarity protest

Sunday, February 23 2014

Venezuelans living in TT yesterday joined their countrymen around the world in an “SOS Venezuela” solidarity protest at Adam Smith Square, Port-of-Spain, calling attention to increasing political, economic and social instability in Venezuela.

In an atmosphere charged with emotions, the Venezuelan nationals gathered at noon and sang the country’s national anthem, “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo” (Glory to the Brave People) and chanted “Libertad” (Freedom) while holding aloft placards calling on President Nicolas Maduro to demit office.

The protesters claim economic mismanagement, human rights abuses and a curtailment of the freedom of the press by Maduro’s administration.

An emotional Austin Agho, whose two children are in Caracas told Sunday Newsday that he cannot make contact with them since the protests led by students began two weeks ago.

“They have to make contact with me and that is distressing,” he said.

He called on the international community particularly, South American and Caribbean countries, friendly with Maduro, to intervene and assist in mediating settlements between the Government and the protesters.

Agho feared that if any harm was done to detained opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, the situation could become more dangerous.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is chaired by Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, on Tuesday issued a statement calling for “respect for the democratically elected Government” of Venezuela.

Gonsalves had earlier said that his government supports the Maduro administration and spoke against what he described as “attempts to destabilise a government which has been duly elected.”

At least eight people, including a beauty queen, have been killed during the protests.

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