Venezuelan Montrealers rallied in support of the country’s disputed leader, Juan Guaido, in downtown Montreal on Saturday.
“We are asking the governments who can hear us and the leaders of our communities to please keep helping out,” said Silvia Guimarey. “We need their voices. We need their support and we have been doing some great progress so far in trying to bring awareness to what’s happening in Venezuela.”
How Venezuela’s political crisis unfolded since Maduro took office in 2013: a timeline
Guimarey says the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela “has been in the back burner for a very long time.”
“We would like to see the division of our powers. We would like to see the newly appointed president Juan Guaido recognized. We would like to see food in the country, medicine in the hospitals. We would like to see our children not dying because of lack of nourishment,” Guimarey said.
Some thirty protesters were chanting and brought flyers asking for free elections in their country. They also brought flags, not only from Venezuela but other Latin American countries.
Watch below: Former ambassador to Venezuela and president of the Canadian International Council Ben Rowswell tells Mike Le Couteur the solution to the crisis in this country has to come from within and the rest of the world needs to support their solution.
Things got heated when counterprotester Yves Ingler started yelling at the group. Ingler was later escorted away by police. He told Global News he’s not happy with the way Canada has handled the situation, which he believes is not respectful of international laws. “I’d like to see a negotiated solution,” he said.
Venezuelans not only protested in Montreal but across the country. Protests took place in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Ottawa and Vancouver.
In Caracas, two massive protests drew thousands of Venezuelans. One protest was in favour of Guaido. The other one supported the country’s long-time president Nicolas Maduro.
Watch below: Massive demonstrations in Venezuela demand Maduro’s resignation
Tensions are rising in the South American nation after several countries recognized Guaido as president and dismissed Maduro’s recent victory as illegitimate.
Both Canada and the United States are backing Guaido, though the populist leader still has no control over state institutions or day-to-day governance.
Venezuela is currently dealing with a hyperinflation crisis and the mass migration of its citizens to neighbouring Latin American countries.
On Monday, Canada is hosting a meeting in Ottawa with the Lima Group — a coalition of 12 countries, including Canada — to find solutions to Venezuela’s crisis.
— With files from Global’s Jessica Vomiero and Reuters
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