As Venezuelans gathered to commemorate International Workers Day on Wednesday, one could not fathom that just a day earlier the country experienced an attempted coup d’etat. The tranquility felt in the capital city Caracas showed its people and the world that violence or oppression against the opposition is and won’t be government policy.
Venezuela: Thousands Rally in Streets for Labor Day After Failed Coup Attempt
"Today was a contrast of peace and violence in Venezuela from that attempted coup d'état, carried out by foreign interests," said President Nicolas Maduro regarding the coup on Tuesday, adding that despite been pushed towards a “civil war” his government acted in a cool and well-thought out manner in order to promote public order and peace.
In contrast to other nations such as Sudan whose army, after overthrowing President Omar al-Bashir, declared a three-month state of emergency. Or neighboring Colombia, whose far-right government has systematically repressed opposition protests organized by Indigenous campesinos, students and social movements.
“Mass media in my country and around the world has portrayed Maduro’s government as a violent dictatorship, yet the government has reacted very carefully against those extreme violent acts that for a long time the opposition has tried. This contrasts to a very democratic behavior by the Venezuelan government,” Valter Pomar from the Brazilian Worker’s Party (PT) told teleSUR.
This comes as lawmaker Juan Guaido Tuesday urged the armed forces to support his effort to oust Maduro and appeared outside an air force base with dozens of National Guard members, which later turned out that had been tricked into showing up at the highway interchange of Altamira. Guaido and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who violated his house arrest, tried to get the army and people to join their coup but failed.
Following their move against the government, protests took place across the capital Caracas and several clashes took place in which multiple injuries from both sides were reported, including eight security forces, one which was shot in the neck. During these clashes, the Bolivarian Armed Forces were ordered to not draw their weapons against civilians, while opposition “guarimbas” were seen and recorded using live ammunition against the National Guard and Army.
“Let’s remember that back in 2002 shots against civilians were blamed on Chavez’s government to later find out they were actually perpetrated by the same opposition. So it is not crazy to assume that they might try to use that excuse once again,” added Pomar.
While the coup attempt was immediately supported by the U.S. government of Donald Trump, nations as Mexico, Cuba and Russia rejected the escalation of violence. Just as Maduro called for dialogue and restraint, the opposition called for more violence and chaos.
However, the government has been clear that they will not fall into the opposition and the U.S.’s “games” that are waiting for the government to violently react or imprisoning Guaido in order to justify an intervention in the name of so-called human rights violations.
President Maduro’s reaction has been the complete opposite, allowing opposition civilians to peaceful protests and even allowing those that lead the coup attempt, such as Lopez and his family, secure their rights by asking for refugee in a foreign diplomatic mission.
So as many have pointed out, it is rather a very “strange dictatorship” the one Venezuelans are experiencing, where the government calls for dialogue and order while the opposition for repression and war.