Maduro supporters stage protests against US sanctions

Caracas, Jan 23 (EFE).- Thousands of supporters of Venezuela’s Chavista government on Monday in a number of cities including Caracas staged protests against international economic sanctions that are weighing on the country and in favor of the Nicolas Maduro government, which participated in the mobilization in the capital.

State-run Venezolana de Television (VTV) broadcast scenes from numerous demonstrations in support of Maduro in at least 10 of the country’s 23 states, all of them headed by local top government officials and at which the crowds chanted slogans backing the so-called Bolivarian Revolution.

State governors, mayors and lawmakers belonging to the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), at each of the marches, repeated their demand that international financial restrictions imposed on Venezuela be lifted, especially those levied by the United States.

In Caracas, thousands of government supporters marched from several points in the city to a central site where Chavista leaders lambasted the opposition, whom they accused of failing to fulfill the written agreement reached last November during the political dialogue hosted by Mexico between the government and the opposition.

The government blames the opposition for the delay in obtaining $3 billion – coming from Venezuelan funds frozen abroad – which is to be channeled, via the United Nations, to invest in health care and education, among other areas.

“Now, the position of our government is very clear in saying that as long as they don’t disburse the money, we have no reasons to stay seated (at the dialogue table) … If they’re not going to fulfill what was agreed to, we have no reason to remain seated and talking with them again,” PSUV vice president and lawmaker Diosdado Cabello told journalists.

After the demonstrations had been under way for several hours, Maduro attended the Caracas protest, undertaken on the day that Venezuela is commemorating the 65th anniversary of its democracy after the fall of the Marcos Perez Jimenez dictatorship in 1958.

EFE –/bp

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