Caracas, Jul 5 (EFE).- Venezuela celebrates this Friday the 208th anniversary of the enactment of its Declaration of Independence, though now the date has become the backdrop for a pair of street demonstrations, one called by the government and the other by the opposition.
The Nicolas Maduro administration started the day at around 7:00 am with two formal acts at the Legislative Palace that could only be attended by the military and by government officials and supporters, who first paid tribute to this historic day and then took part in a session of the ruling party’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC).
This session of the ANC, a forum entirely made up of Chavistas whose legitimacy many countries refuse to recognize, was led by the head of strategic command operations of the Venezuelan military, Remigio Ceballos, who repeated all the complaints of the party line, according to which the United States and other “enemies” are to blame for the oil country’s ongoing problems.
Maduro, who did not attend the event, recalled early in the day on Twitter that 208 years ago Venezuela declared itself to be “free of empires forever.”
“Today, the glorious Venezuelan people, heirs to that dignity and patriotic spirit, continue the battle, defending our sovereignty and self-determination,” he added.
The ruling party plans to march through the west side of Caracas to the Paseo Los Proceres thoroughfare, where the military parade led by the head of state is traditionally held on this date.
Up to now the presidency has not announced at what time the parade will start nor has it confirmed whether Maduro will take part.
Meanwhile, those opposed to Chavismo plan to march on the east side of the Venezuelan capital to the military headquarters where an anti-government captain was held before he was slain in prison, according to a preliminary account by the attorney general and the courts.
This protest was called by National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, who will also lead a special session of the legislature to commemorate the birth of Venezuelan independence.
EFE observed early on that the National Bolivarian Police (PNB) had blocked the street near the end of the route of the opposition march, scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm.