Venezuela Opposition Calls National Protest on Recall and Summit

  • Protest delayed to Friday when CNE rules on Maduro referendum
  • Demonstration to take place during Non-Aligned Movement summit

Venezuela’s opposition pushed back a nationwide protest by two days to coincide with both a key ruling on a proposed recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro and the meeting of about 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

The protest was postponed until Friday when the electoral body, known as the CNE, is expected to establish a timetable for the recall process against Maduro, the opposition coalition said in an e-mailed statement, citing Secretary-General Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba. The opposition plans to release further details of the protest 48 hours beforehand.

“If the CNE announcement respects the law and the rights of Venezuelans, we’ll celebrate and get started on the campaign,” Torrealba said. “But if the announcement differs from what the law and the constitution establish, and especially if it violates the rights of Venezuelans, they will find themselves faced with a people in a struggle of peaceful protest.”

The nationwide demonstrations also aim to draw attention to Venezuela’s political and economic crisis as the Non-Aligned Movement gathers on Margarita Island this week. Venezuela’s opposition backed off on protesting the summit itself after the government deployed 14,000 security officers and banned travel to the island during the week of the event. The opposition initially said they’d use the summit that includes developing countries such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria to draw attention to their cause.

Calling the summit a “meaningless show,” Torrealba said that “Margarita Island is occupied militarily by people armed to the teeth,” according to the opposition’s Monday statement.