Home Must See Venezuelan exiles dream of returning home as they wait for Maduros fall

Venezuelan exiles dream of returning home as they wait for Maduros fall


Exiles converge at embassies and consulates around the world to throw their weight behind the attempt to oust Nicols Maduro

The sun had not yet risen over Mexico City when the mobile phones of thousands of exiled Venezuelans began buzzing with news of an uprising back home.

I woke up to a hundred-and-something messages, said Carlos Beck, a 60-year-old from Maracaibo who was one of scores of exiles who flocked to their embassy on Tuesday to throw their weight behind the thunderbolt attempt to drive Nicols Maduro from power. It was such a pleasant surprise.

As news spread that a push to unseat Maduro was underway, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the building and other Venezuelan embassies and consulates around the world with placards demanding change and newly rekindled dreams of returning home.

I am totally convinced that today is the day, said Yoraco Falcn, a 30-year-old Uber driver who abandoned Venezuela with his young family last August because of its economic collapse and now saw a chance of returning home.

More than three million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2015, driven by hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, and violence. On Tuesday, some of them hoped they could return home.

We miss Venezuela. We love Venezuela, added Falcn who had come to the rally with his two-year-old son, Ethan, and a banner that said: Get fucked, Maduro.

As soon as Maduros government falls, so many of us will go straight back I want my son to grow up in Venezuela just like I did, Falcn said.

Oriette Ledezma, the step daughter of a prominent exiled opposition leader called Antonio Ledezma, was also among the crowds and was similarly convinced that the launch of Juan Guaids Operation Freedom meant Maduro was on his way out.

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaid argue with supporters of President Nicols Maduro during a protest outside the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico City. Photograph: Luis Cortes/Reuters

Of course we are afraid because Maduros regime is made up of criminals, not politicians, she said of the potential for violence back in Venezuela. But we have great faith that the armed forces are finally going to support democracy.

Guaids representative in Mexico, Reinaldo Daz, said the oppositions message to Maduro was that the only way to avoid bloodshed was for him to step aside: Get out, while you still can Get on a flight and go.

As anti-Maduro demonstrators flocked to Venezuelan embassies from Lima to London, Daz, who has spent a year in exile in Mexico, insisted there was no way back from Tuesdays dramatic pre-dawn challenge.

Today represents our countrys liberation, he claimed.

Not everyone agreed.

In the United States capital, Washington, there were reportedly tense scenes outside Venezuelas embassy as members of the opposition faced off with pro-Maduro activists who have been occupying the building.

In Mexico City, there were scuffles too and police occupied the entrance to the Venezuelan embassy.

A small group of mostly elderly Mexican women said they had come to denounce what they called the imperialist plot to fell Maduros legitimate government.

We support sovereignty. We are against interventionism. We are against Trumps tricks. We dont want an invasion, said Sofa Nava, 47.

Behind her, a sign plastered onto the front of the embassy read: Get your hands off Venezuelan, Trump and your lapdogs.

Another said: Total rejection of the attempted military coup. Viva the Bolivarian revolution!

MaraElena de la Torre, 68, a second pro-Maduro protester, said: The Bolivarian revolution has never harmed anyone. The Bolivarian revolution wants peace.

The majority begged to differ, as they waited for news of Guaids quest to dethrone Hugo Chvezs authoritarian heir.

Falcn accused the Chavistas of destroying Venezuelas economy and its peoples lives. There was no way to carry on living a dignified life, he said of his familys decision to flee.

Today we are here to celebrate, enthused Beck.

I dont know what is happening right now in Venezuela because we dont have first hand news, admitted the Venezuelan businessman who has spent 16 years abroad. But I am certain that these steps we are taking mean that very soon the usurpation will be over. There is no doubt about it.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us


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