Dozens of Venezuelans Support Caracas Protest at New York Consulate

Eduardo Lugo, 25, coordinator of the group SOS Venezuela New York. (Photo by Ramón Frisneda via El Diario)

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan consulate in New York, near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, again became the epicenter of a demonstration of dozens of Venezuelans heeding the call of their country’s opposition leaders to take the streets as part of what has been called “Operation Liberty.” [Editor’s note: The Operation Liberty campaign to topple President Nicolás Maduro was launched Tuesday in Caracas. Unrest continued on Wednesday as opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for May Day protests.]

(Photo by Ramón Frisneda via El Diario)

At the shouts of “Venezuela Libre” and “Maduro dictador,” demonstrators displayed their country’s three colors – yellow, blue and red – not only in flags but also in their clothing: shirts, hats and even shoes.

Among them was Eduardo Lugo, 25, coordinator of the group SOS Venezuela New York, who highlighted the importance of making their voices heard on such a crucial day for their country. “This is a fight that belongs to every Venezuelan citizen who has sided with the Constitution and in support of Juan Guaidó.”

Lugo, who moved to the Big Apple seven years ago, said that these kinds of popular movements will bring change to their country, and urged his compatriots, both in New York and abroad, to take to the streets. “The Maduro regime is in its last throes because it doesn’t have popular support and very little support from the military and the international community. But, most importantly, his own people reject him,” he said.

Lugo was one of the people who organized the demonstration in the midtown consulate. Considered the ‘crown jewel’ of Venezuelan diplomacy, it has become a symbol for the opposition since last March 18, when envoys of interim president Juan Guaidó changed the building’s locks and took possession of the premises, which had been closed since the beginning of the year. To this day, it is not providing consular services.

Mariana Ramírez, 22, skipped work to join the demonstration. (Photo by Ramón Frisneda via El Diario)

“I moved here from Venezuela two years ago and, regrettably, I could not see this government fall. When I got news of what was going on today, I felt so powerless, and I longed to participate and do something,” said Mariana Ramírez, 22, who lives in New Jersey.

“I don’t think that there is anything that could move me more than what is happening today, and my only way to contribute is to support the movement that started in my country. Nothing is more important than that right now,” added Ramírez, who said she had to skip work to join the demonstration.

A 52-year-old father, who participated in the protest with his 14-year-old son, said that he has lived outside his country for a decade and that he is hopeful there will be a change soon so he can go back. “In Venezuela we have lost all of our freedoms, and we are reaching a point in which the people are realizing that the only way to make a change is to support this movement that Guaidó has inspired.”

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