Venezuelan president calls for “anti-imperialist” protests


CARACAS, March 5 (Xinhua) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday called for mass demonstrations on Saturday to protest U.S. imperialism.

Maduro said he chose the date because on March 9, 2015, then U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order that labeled Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States and declared a “state of emergency.”

“I have decreed it as the day of Venezuelan anti-imperialism and we are going into the streets,” Maduro said, calling on supporters to take part in the demonstrations.

Maduro also said he will be making several “important announcements” on Friday during a rally marking International Women’s Day.

Maduro spoke at a ceremony in honor of Hugo Chavez, the late president and reformist leader who passed away on March 5, 2013.

During the ceremony, Maduro paid tribute to members of the military for fending off the U.S.-backed opposition’s attempts on Feb. 23 to force U.S. aid convoys through the country’s borders, despite a government ban.

Maduro had rejected the aid as a cover for covert U.S. military action against his government.

The military leaders were being decorated “for their victory this past Feb. 23, Saturday of sovereignty, of the defense of peace,” said Maduro.

Venezuela is facing “the most powerful imperialist aggression ever unleashed” against a country, he said.

The border standoff was the latest incident in the ongoing power struggle between the ruling socialist party and the right-wing opposition, which wants Maduro to step down.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who declared himself “interim president” in January, has also called for protests on Saturday.