Puebla, Mexico, July 7, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Footage surfaced Thursday of a Venezuelan opposition legislator semingly calling for civil war and foreign intervention, following violence at the country’s parliament.
Legislator Juan Requesens said the opposition is planning on creating a climate of ingovernability in Venezuela, which will coincide with an unofficial referendum on whether the country’s constitution should be rewritten. Called by the opposition for July 16, the date of the referendum was referred to by Requesens as “zero hour”.
“The important thing is that we call the zero hour and definitely paralyse Venezuela,” Requesens said during a speech at the Florida International University on Wednesday.
Requesens explained the opposition will aim to use the chaos to stop the Maduro administration from forming a constituent assembly, which would have the power to rewrite the constitution. Maduro called the assembly earlier this year, arguing a constitutional amendment could help Venezuela overcome its current political crisis. The opposition has dismissed the plan as a power grab by Maduro.
If the opposition can’t stop the constituent assembly from going forward, Requesens said a “sovereign war is coming”.
“There is nothing left to lose … let's give the government a war!” he said.
Requesens continued by explaining how internal “war” could be used to provoke international intervention to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.
“To reach a foreign intervention, we have to go through this stage [of internal conflict],” he added.
Requesens' speech coincided with Venezuela’s Independence Day. This year, the day was marked by violence, including scuffles between legislators and suspected pro-government demonstrators at the National Assembly (AN).
The AN’s president Julio Borges said over 300 politicians, journalists and other visitors were trapped in the assembly building for hours, while demonstrators protested outside. At one point, demonstrators reportedly broke into the building, attacking opposition legislators with blunt objects including pipes, stones and sticks.
One serious injury was reported, after legislator Americo De Grazia was allegedly beaten. His family has told local media he was rushed from the scene in an ambulance, and later received stitches for a head injury.
Borges also said the demonstrators caused damage to property outside the building.
"There are bullets, cars destroyed including mine, blood stains around the [AN] palace," Borges told Reuters.
"The violence in Venezuela has a name and surname: [President] Nicolas Maduro,” he said.
Maduro himself condemned the violence, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The national executive condemns the suspected acts of violence in the gardens of the federal legislative palace,” the president’s office said in a statement.
The statement continued, “The national government has ordered the investigation of the aforementioned acts of violence to establish the whole truth and, based on it, to apply penalties to those responsible.”
Venezuela has been engulfed in violence for three months, with opposition groups regularly attacking public infrastructure and services, blocking roads and targeting pro government supporters. So far, around 100 people have died in the violence.