Maduro supporters demonstrate against US sanctions

Pro-government protesters rally against US sanctions with a Venezuelan national flag in Caracas on August 7, 2019. – Washington warned China and Russia to avoid doing business with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro, as delegates from some 60 countries discussed ways of ending the crisis in the South American nation. The admonition Tuesday came a day after President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and barred transactions with its authorities. (Photo by Federico Parra / AFP)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Thousands of supporters of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro marched through the capital Caracas on Wednesday in protest against attempts by US President Donald Trump to asphyxiate the ruling regime.

Dressed in red and carrying the tricolor Venezuelan flag, the protesters gathered at a stage in the center of the capital to listen to some of the ruling regime’s top officials.

The demonstration followed 48 hours during which Washington threatened to “use every appropriate tool” to oust Maduro, ordered a freeze on Venezuelan government assets in the US and barred transactions with its authorities.

“It’s a new aggression amongst the madness of genocides that govern the United States,” said Diosdado Cabello, the second most powerful regime figure behind Maduro.

“What they have done is to increase the people’s suffering, including the opposition.”

Made up mostly of civilian militia and public sector employees, the crowd chanted: “Yankee go home,” and “Hands off Venezuela.”

“We’re struggling against this war that’s making life impossible,” Elena Flores, a 62-year-old facilitator of government social programs, told AFP.

Trump “is nervous, he’s anxious, he’s power hungry, he wants to get his hands on Venezuela,” she added.

Trump’s measures were just the latest in a string of sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime in a bid to force the socialist leader from power in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

The US is one of more than 50 countries to have recognized Guaido’s claim to be acting president.

China responded to the sanctions by telling the US to stop “bullying” other countries.

Speaking at a small meeting in the east of Caracas, Guaido insisted the US sanctions would affect only top regime officials and not the general population.

“They’re against the regime, against Maduro, the product of arrogance,” he said as he called for the release of opposition legislator Juan Requesens, who was arrested a year ago and accused of being behind an alleged drone attack against Maduro.

© Agence France-Presse