Alwaght- Thousands of Venezuelans poured to the streets of Caracas to express support for President Nicolas Maduro and condemn US-backed efforts to topple his administration and destabilize the nation.
The demonstrators, waving pictures of Maduro and the late former president Hugo Chavez, marched to the Government Palace on Friday to also commemorate Chavez on the sixth anniversary of his last campaign speech that drew huge crowds.
Among the official dignitaries participating in the rally and addressing the crowd was President of National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, who harshly condemned the US-led sanctions on Venezuela, describing it as “a criminal and terrorist blockade” against the nation by Washington.
"We demand that the world cease the blockade against Venezuela, and that they allow us to buy medicine and food for our people anywhere in the world,” Cabello declared. "We do not ask anyone to give us anything.”
"This is a criminal and terrorist blockade from the United States against our people," he further underlined, pointing the persisting efforts by Washington to bring political and economic pressures on the Maduro-led government in collaboration with the country’s opposition parties and regional US-backed governments.
The development came a week after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley took part in an anti-Maduro demonstration at the UN building in New York, demanding ouster of the Venezuelan president.
"We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until Maduro is gone!" Haley shouted through the megaphone while addressing a small group of protesters. “We need your voices to be loud, and I will tell you, the US voice is going to be loud".
The starkly undiplomatic move by the American UN representative followed Maduro’s speech at the UN General Assembly in which he harshly slammed US intervention in his country, saying Washington opposed Venezuelan independence and was determined to stop it at all costs.
Blasting the US-led “illegal unilateral sanctions,” he declared: “Today, the leader of the US announced new actions against our country. The use of the domination of the exchange rate is illegal from the perspective of international law."
Maduro’s UN speech came two days after his government denounced US President Donald Trump over his “warmongering and interventionist” remarks promoting a "military uprising" against the Venezuelan president.
"Venezuela expresses its strongest rejection of the warmongering and interventionist statements issued by the president of the United States ... aimed at promoting a military uprising in the country," Venezuela's Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.
The statement was issued in response to Trump’s assertions on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly a day earlier, claiming that “the regime in Venezuela could be toppled very quickly by the military if the military decides to do that.”
This is while the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also declared on September 21 that Washington was preparing a “series of actions” in the coming days to put additional pressure on Caracas.
The US on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on Maduro’s wife and several of his top allies to further increase pressure on the government which is already grappling with an economic crisis.
"You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership folks, who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people,” Pompeo claimed during a televised interview with Fox News.