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Venezuela’s Juan Guaido calls for ‘largest march in history’ amid violent protests – National

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Venezuela’s Juan Guaido calls for ‘largest march in history’ amid violent protests National

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Venezuelans are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday for what opposition leader Juan Guaido pledged would be the “largest march” in the country’s history, a day after he called for the military to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

In his boldest effort yet to gain the support of the armed forces, Guaido appeared early Tuesday outside a Caracas air force base with dozens of National Guard members. That triggered a day of violent protests, leaving more than 100 injured, but without any concrete signs of defection from the armed forces leadership.

WARNING: This video contains disturbing images not suitable for all viewers. Discretion is advised. Military truck runs over protesters in Venezuela amid political uprising 





“Today we continue,” Guaido said in a post on Twitter early on Wednesday. “We will keep going with more strength than ever, Venezuela.”

Whether the protest turnout meets those lofty hopes will provide a key test for Guaido, amid frustration among some supporters that Maduro remained in office more than three months after Guaido – who leads the opposition-controlled National Assembly – invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s May 2018 reelection was illegitimate.

While Guaido earned the backing of the United States and most Western countries, the armed forces have stood by Maduro, who retains the support of allies like Russia, China and Cuba.

That has frustrated Guaido’s bid to assume the day-to-day functions of government on an interim basis – which he says would be a prelude to calling new elections.


READ MORE:
Chaos in the streets as Venezuela’s Guaido launches military uprising to oust Maduro

Maduro, a socialist, calls Guaido a puppet of the United States who is seeking to orchestrate a coup against him.

Russia on Wednesday denied a claim by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a day earlier that Maduro was prepared to leave the country but nixed his plan after Russia intervened. A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry told reporters the comments were part of an “information war.”

In a television interview Wednesday, Pompeo said U.S. military action was “possible” in Venezuela but that the Trump administration would prefer a peaceful transfer of power.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration late Tuesday banned U.S. air operators from flying below 26,000 feet in Venezuela’s airspace, citing political instability.

WATCH: U.S. wants ‘peaceful transfer’ of power in Venezuela, Bolton says





‘The last time’

Venezuelan living standards have declined even further in the first several months of the year, with blackouts and water shortages adding to hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine that have prompted millions to emigrate.

“I hope this will be the last time we have to take to the streets,” said Claudia Riveros, a 36-year-old bakery worker carrying a Venezuelan flag during Tuesday’s protest. “I want to see the end of this usurping government.”

Maduro also urged supporters to march on Wednesday.


READ MORE:
Maduro orders Venezuela civilian militia expand by nearly 1 million members

“Tomorrow, the first of May, we will have a large, millions-strong march of the working class,” Maduro said in a television address on Tuesday. “We have been confronting different types of aggression and attempted coups never before seen in our history.”

Guaido’s choice of International Workers’ Day for a major march comes as he is making appeals to union leaders and public workers, a traditional base of support for Maduro and his predecessor and mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez.

“If he does get some degree of participation from labour movements, then that can be an additional feather in his cap,” said Risa Grais-Targow, the Latin America director at Eurasia Group in Washington, adding that the march would be “a significant barometer of his support and capacity to mobilize.”

WATCH: Canada convenes emergency meeting of Lima Group in response to Venezuela crisis, Freeland says





Tuesday’s protests were also energized by the reappearance of firebrand opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez, who had been serving house arrest since 2017. Spain’s acting prime minister’s office on Wednesday confirmed that Lopez and his family were in the country’s diplomatic residence in Caracas.

Lopez had briefly sought refuge at the Chilean diplomatic residence in Caracas on Tuesday.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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