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MSJ, Venezuelan protesters share differing views

Published: 
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Gregory Fernandez

A pocket of demonstrators from the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) and a group of Venezuelan nationals had differing views on the leadership of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.

Both parties began gathering outside Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s residence shortly after 9.30 am yesterday in anticipation of Maduro’s arrival.

The MSJ convened in support of the Maduro regime.

MSJ public relation’s officer Gregory Fernandez  said they did not show up to oppose those protesting against Maduro’s regime but were in support of the people of Venezuela and their government. 

“They are trying to adjust social inequities in Venezuela. We are the MSJ and we support that general principle,” Fernandez said. 

The MSJ shares a common ground with Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (USPV), as well as other political parties from several regional neighbours in Cuba’s communist party, via its alignment with the São Paulo Forum. 

The forum, a convention of leftist political parties, met in T&T last month where members of the USPV also were present.

Turning his attention to those in opposition to Maduro, Fernandez said there was an improvement in the overall standard of living for Venezuelan citizens. 

He said: “It’s not like Trinidad. In Trinidad, we have a lot more equity in terms of the distribution of resources of the country.

“In Venezuela it was the complete opposite. It was a small elite controlling all the land, you know, and what the government is trying to do is to address that. Now, I am not saying that in terms of economic planning they haven’t made mistakes. I can’t judge that.

“In terms of their intent, in terms of their respect for the democratic process, they cannot be faulted and that is why we are in support. If they were a dictatorship, we definitely would not be in support.”

Opposing beliefs

In a media release, MSJ leader David Abdulah also praised Maduro, saying there had been efforts by North American imperialists and the opposition to undermine and attack the Venezuelan government since the election of Maduro, with the most recent attack being yet another coup attempt. 

“We strongly condemn these actions. These actions are not only attacks against the Maduro government but also against the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” it added.

But one Venezuelan national, who has resided in T&T for over ten years, said she could not understand why Persad-Bissessar would want to meet with Maduro.

Heidi Hernandez, 40, of Caracas, said she was present to remind T&T citizens and the Government that Persad-Bissessar was meeting with someone guilty of numerous human rights violations.

 “We think no government should be speaking right now with our government that is corrupt and criminal. Where is the human rights for everybody?” she asked, with her face hidden behind a Venezuelan flag.

She added: “We are suffering for those in Venezuela. We have two mayors in jail. Two opposition leaders in jail. 

“One has been there for a year and the other was jailed last week and you know why? 

“You know what Maduro’s excuse was for taking him to jail? ...because he is against the peace of Venezuela. So imagine (Keith) Rowley in this country going to jail for saying what he thinks he should say to avoid and to stop corruption in the country.” 

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