Protesters in Venezuela flooded the streets in huge numbers Saturday to demand that socialist President Nicolas Maduro step down from power.
The Washington Post reported that the day saw some of the largest anti-Maduro demonstrations since he succeeded Hugo Chavez in 2013.
Demonstrations across the country attracted huge throngs of people — possily in the hundreds of thousands, according to the Washington Post.
Here is the scene of one demonstration, posted to Twitter by a Caracas-based user.
— Jorge L Pérez Valery (@perezvalery) February 2, 2019
“This is how the mobilization takes place in support of @jguaido,” freelance journalist Jorge L. Pérez Valery wrote, according to an online translation.
“Opponents to @NicolasMaduro are mobilized again in rejection of his stay in power. They celebrate the support of several countries of the world.”
On the other side of the city, pro-Maduro forces also staged a demonstration, according to Voice of America. They were marking the 20th anniversary of the revolution that brought Chavez to power.
Maduro called for new parliamentary elections and denounced the opposition.
“I am very ashamed to see this group of opposition coup perpetrators” take orders from the United States, he said, according to VOA.
Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, a Venezuelan air force general has defected from Madur’s side, circulating a video on social media to recognize opposition leader, Juan Guaido.
“People of Venezuela, 90 percent of the armed forces are not with the dictator,” Yanez said in the video, according to the Post. “The transition to democracy is imminent.”
The developments come after the nation has suffered from years of food and medicine shortages under socialist regimes. Historic numbers of migrants are fleeing the country as hunger, disease, and crime skyrocket.
The Washington Post reported that opposition protesters were heard chanting, “he’s gonna fall, he’s gonna fall, his government’s gonna fall.”
A CBS poll reports that over 80 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro out of leadership.
Despite this, Maduro was recently sworn in for another six years as president. Many have denounced the elections leading up to his reinstatement as illegitimate.
The revolt against Maduro speaks to support for Guaido, whom the U.S. has recognized as the interim president of Venezuela.
The U.S. has also come down on the Venezuelan government with sanctions on the country’s oil exports, slashing a large source of revenue for the country.
Opposition leaders hope the widespread protests will encourage military action against Maduro.
Under Maduro’s regime, socialist Venezuela’s decline has gone from bad to worse.
Fox News reports that four out of five Venezuelans live in poverty, with half of the population in extreme poverty. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the country’s inflation rate will rise to 10 million percent this year, according to Reuters.
Once a prosperous country, Venezuelan citizens now are forced to buy rotten food or eat from the garbage to survive.
Millions of children have stopped going to school as schools close due to lack of funds, according to Fox News.
Diseases go untreated as a deficient healthcare system has left many citizens unable to receive medical attention.
National outcry against Venezuela’s socialist rule comes as so-called “Democratic socialism” has risen to prominence in the U.S.
But Americans only have to look at Venezuela to understand the failings of socialism.
Hopefully the U.S. will listen to the warnings of those who have lived for years in socialism-induced poverty.
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