Caracas, April 9 (IANS) The head of the opposition-controlled parliament and self-proclaimed president of Venezuela urged public sector workers to rebel against current ruler Nicolas Maduro, whom he accused of being a usurper.
Juan Guaido, who has been recognised as Venezuela’s legitimate president by dozens of countries and organisations, including the US and the European Union, was addressing a gathering of union representatives at Parliament here on Monday.
“The time has come for the definitive cessation of the usurpation, and for that we need you, brothers,” Efe quoted Guaido as saying.
He urged the union representatives to make all public sector workers aware of their rights, and said the National Assembly would protect and guarantee the security of those who rise up against Maduro amid a bid to remove bureaucratic support for the president, who has ruled since the death of his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez in 2013.
“We need the workers to continue on the path of the transition,” said Guaido.
The opposition leader reiterated his call to form committees at each workplace to guarantee frequent participation by employees in organised protests, a tactic that the opposition is using to highlight and denounce the rampant and widespread failures in public services and the myriad of other problems caused by the acute economic crisis that has gripped the oil-rich nation for years.
He said that the government of Maduro “has not taken part in the union struggle” nor does it respect the unions’ freedoms, pointing out that several trade union representatives have been prosecuted during Maduro’s six-year term in office.
He urged workers to support the opposition’s plans to remove Maduro from power, establish a transitional government before calling for “free elections”.
“The only thing that is clear in Venezuela is that if we still have this regime, we will not be able to survive,” he said, pointing to the millions of Venezuelans earning a minimum wage of just six dollars per month.
“Who can live with that salary? Our intention is to achieve the well-being of the people,” Guaido said. “We have always spoken of rights, of acceptance. Our commitment is for those who bravely resist and remain in the fight,” he said.
Guaido stressed that the protests that have taken place in recent weeks throughout the country attended by hundreds of thousands of people should not stop until their demands are met.
He reiterated deputies’ support for “Operation Freedom”, a citizen organisation that began last weekend that hopes to add to the mounting pressure against Maduro and his so-called socialist Bolivarian revolution at renewed demonstrations on Wednesday.
The opposition leader declared himself president in January, when he invoked the Constitution as head of the legislative body after Maduro began his second term despite not being recognised by many international governments due to doubts surrounding his re-election victory.
Maduro, who did not make a public appearance on Monday, posted images on Twitter throughout the day of the demonstration his supporters held last Saturday in Caracas.
In one of those posts, the leader said there had been progress in the recovery of the electricity system amid the government’s electricity rationing plans after multiple recent blackouts that completely paralysed the country for two weeks.