Venezuelans step out again to protest against Maduro

Celebrities release message of solidarity with Venezuelan protesters

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI – Despite the threats and abuses from officers, Venezuela's opposition movement is protesting again on Saturday. Juan Guaido, the U.S.-recognized interim president of Venezuela, asked Venezuelans around the world to join a demonstration against Nicolas Maduro.

A group of celebrities, including Alejandro Sanz from Spain, Luis Fonsi from Puerto Rico, Diego Torres from Argentina and Juanes from Colombia, shared a video on Friday with messages of support and encouragement. 

"You are not alone," Fonsi said. "Keep on fighting."




Amid a political standoff involving the United States and Russia, Maduro also called on his supporters to march on Saturday in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the day Hugo Chavez launched his Bolivarian revolution. High-ranking members of the Venezuelan military continue to support Maduro. 

"We're in a historic battle," Maduro told several hundred troops standing in formation around armored vehicles. "We're facing the greatest political, diplomatic and economic aggression that Venezuela has confronted in 200 years."

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton asked Maduro to retire to "a nice beach somewhere far away from Venezuela" or he would end up in Guantanamo.  

"Pursuant to the request of Interim President Juan Guaido, and in consultation with his officials the US will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid_medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela. It's time for Maduro to get out of the way," Bolton wrote on Twitter late Friday.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with exiled Venezuelans in Miami-Dade County's city of Doral.

"It's time to end Maduro's regime," Pence said during a speech at the Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center.

Guaido used Twitter to thank Pence for the U.S. recognition of the legitimacy of the National Assembly. After the U.S. and parliament considered Maduro's presidential election and his constitutional assembly illegitimate, the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution allowed Guaido to step up as interim president, a position that he has used to call for the ousting of Maduro and democratic elections. 

"The democratic world is in support of justice, freedom and prosperity in Venezuela," Guaido wrote in Spanish on Friday. 

Since the Jan. 23 day of protests, he also led a two-hour walkout demonstration on Wednesday. Human rights activists estimate about 40 people died during the first protests and 900 were arrested.

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