| 06.03,19. 09:27 PM |
Maduro calls for 'anti-imperialist' rallies on March 9
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged his supporters Tuesday to attend “anti-imperialist” rallies on March 9, the same day that anti-government marches will be held by the opposition.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Maduro said he would defeat a “crazed minority” planning to destabilize the country.
“We'll do it for Chavez, for the great history of the country,” he said.
It was Maduro’s first public speech since opposition leader Juan Guaido returned to the country Monday following visits to several Latin American countries.
Despite being under a travel ban since Jan. 30, Guaido secretly left Venezuela for Colombia to help coordinate efforts there on Feb. 23 to force through convoys of U.S. aid into Venezuela.
He paid visits to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina after he proceeded to Colombia.
“We are stronger than ever,” Guaido told crowds of supporters after touching down at Caracas airport.
Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.
Tensions escalated when Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.
Turkey, Russia, Iran, Cuba, China and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro, who vowed to cut all diplomatic and political ties with the U.S. Maduro insists he is a victim of a U.S.-orchestrated coup amid a spiraling economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump pointed to military intervention as among a number of options he could choose to help resolve the crisis.
Venezuela is experiencing widespread shortages of food and medicine and has the highest inflation rate in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund.