CARACAS, February 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Riots that occurred in Caracas and other big Venezuelan cities on Wednesday after student manifestations had the goal of toppling the government, President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday in a televised address to the nation.
“Criminal violence was unleashed for the purpose of soaking Venezuela with blood, and the political objective was to topple the government,” Maduro said. “The fascists who took part in the manifestation” had a plan to break through to the Presidential Palace, he indicated.
“We know the names of the organizers of these criminal actions and the Attorney’s Office has issued the warrants to arrest them,” he said. “I call on those of them who are hiding away from justice to surrender to the authorities.”
“We are told that Venezuela resembles Ukraine, but claims of this kind are totally groundless,” Maduro went on. “The Venezuelans don’t have anything in common with the Ukrainians because a social revolution for the benefit of the people is in progress in our country.”
He also expressed the confidence that the vast majority of Venezuelans supported the government of the Bolivarian revolution, and he urged the people to stay adamant, to resist provocations and to stand up firmly against the plans of the putsch perpetrators.
Conspiracy behind protests
Earlier on the same day, Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez told reporters that the Wednesday disorders “had the character of a conspiracy” and were instigated by plotters who had been trained abroad.
“The fascist groupings took specialized training abroad,” he said. “The disorders were not spontaneous and there exists an organization trying to topple the government in an unconstitutional and violent way.”
Rodriguez apportioned blame for organizing the riots to Leopoldo Lopez Mendoza, the leader of the oppositionist Voluntad Popular party, and he urged the moderate opposition “to stay away from supporting those who seek to push the country into a civil war.”
“Let’s conduct dialogue,” Rodriguez said. “Please offer your own plan to the country and let the people decide on which pathway to choose.”
Manifestations of young Venezuelans in support of the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and against it took place in different cities of the country Wednesday. They were timed for Youth Day.
No incidents were registered at the beginning but clashes between oppositionist-minded youngsters and the police began later. A total of three people died as a result and twenty others received injuries.