CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s bitterly divided political factions held competing commemorations of the nation’s independence day on Friday, with President Nicolas Maduro calling for dialogue and opposition chief Juan Guaido decrying alleged human rights violations by Maduro’s “dictatorship.”
Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido, who many countries have recognised because the nation’s rightful interim ruler, and his spouse Fabiana Rosales sing the nationwide anthem after a particular session of Venezuela’s Nationwide Meeting to have a good time the 208th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence in Caracas, Venezuela July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Fausto Torrealba
Talking to a gathering of prime army officers, Maduro reiterated his help for a negotiation course of mediated by Norway between his socialist authorities and Guaido, the chief of the opposition-held Nationwide Meeting who argues Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a fraud.
“There’s room for all of us inside Venezuela,” Maduro mentioned in a speech in Caracas, earlier than calling for army workouts on July 24 to defend the South American nation’s “seas, rivers and borders.”
“We should all surrender one thing so as to attain an settlement,” he mentioned.
Venezuela was plunged right into a deep political disaster in January when Guaido invoked the structure to imagine a rival interim presidency, calling Maduro a usurper. He has been acknowledged because the rightful head of state by dozens of nations, together with the USA and most South American neighbors.
However Maduro retains the popularity of Cuba, Russia and China, and stays in command of state capabilities and the armed forces. He calls Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet looking for to oust him in a coup.
Guaido held a separate independence day occasion, calling on supporters to march towards the headquarters of the army counterintelligence directorate, or DGCIM, the place navy captain Rafael Acosta died final month after opposition leaders and relations mentioned he was tortured in custody.
The march is the primary main opposition gathering since a botched Guaido-led army rebellion on April 30 and follow-up protests on Might 1. The federal government responded to the failed try to oust Maduro with a crackdown on Guaido-aligned lawmakers and army members suspected of involvement.
This week, the United Nations human rights chief, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, revealed a report detailing alleged extrajudicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances and different rights violations by Venezuelan safety forces in recent times.
“There isn’t any longer any legitimate euphemism to characterize this regime, apart from dictatorship,” Guaido instructed reporters earlier on Friday. “The systematic violation of human rights, the repression, the torture… it’s clearly recognized within the (UN)report.”
The Venezuelan authorities has known as the report “selective” and mentioned the UN sources lacked objectivity.
A brand new spherical of Norway-mediated talks anticipated for this week was known as off after Acosta’s dying. Opposition leaders often argue that Maduro’s authorities seeks to make use of dialogue to distract from its continued human rights violations.
In an obvious referral to Acosta earlier than Maduro spoke, Commander Remigio Ceballos mentioned the armed forces “regretted the occasions associated to the lack of the retired naval official.” With out naming Acosta, he accused him of conspiring in opposition to the Venezuelan state, and mentioned authorities have been investigating the circumstances of his dying.
Reporting by Vivian Sequera, Mayela Armas and Luc Cohen, Enhancing by Rosalba O’Brien