Hundreds of Venezuelan refugees demonstrated on Tuesday, February 12, in the Plaza dei Luzi in Medellin, in support of Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who has been recognized as interim president by some 50 countries.
It is around a huge Venezuelan flag of a hundred meters long that the Venezuelan refugees from Medellin shout their hope and support to the young deputy Juan Guaido, 35 years old. On Tuesday, February 12, they responded to his call for demonstrations to ask the army to let American humanitarian aid into their country. The diaspora found itself at the end of the afternoon on the Place des Lumières just opposite administrations and the town hall of Medellin.
The Guaido hope
Brandishing caps, T-shirts, flags Venezuelan colors, many come for the third time after the days of mobilization of January 23 and February 2 organized in Venezuela and around the world. "We are following very closely what is happening in Caracas. It is important, even outside of our country, to show our support for Guaido and to tell Maduro that he must leave his place. It represents a real hope of change for our country "explains Felipe Vargas, 37 years old.
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The event is organized by Toni Vitela, political leader of 27 years, close to Juan Guaido. The young man had to flee Caracas two and a half years ago, persecuted by the Maduro regime. He had founded the movement "Popular Will of Youth" in opposition to the current president. "This is an important day for our country since we are also celebrating the day of youth. All young people killed during demonstrations since the beginning of the crisis are honored »he said.
The urgency of humanitarian aid
Coming with his nine-month-old daughter on the shoulders, Guillermo Manzanarez sings the national anthem with his wife in his arms. This computer engineer arrived in Medellin five months ago. He passed through the Colombian border town of Cucuta, where today 30 tons of humanitarian aid are still waiting to enter Venezuela.
For him, the hardest thing was not the trip but making the decision to leave and leaving their loved ones behind in misery. "With a newborn baby, we had no choice, there was no more medicine, not even enough to feed my wife so that she could breastfeed serenely. Today we hope to return home. But the priority is that humanitarian aid can reach our homes for our families. ", he says.
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A return to the country?
The crowd shouts in chorus "Freedom" or "Maduro clears". In protest, Antonio Pasco, 25, intends to put pressure on the army. "It's time for her to finally make a decision, support Guaido and allow humanitarian aid to enter. She must think of all those Venezuelans who are dying of hunger. " The young student is proud to say that members of his family volunteered to send the aid to Venezuela. Juan Guaido announced Tuesday (February 12th) that the aid would enter the country on February 23, thanks to the participation of 250,000 volunteers who will form a "caravan".
To prepare for this next step is scheduled Thursday, February 14 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, an international conference to which were invited 60 NGOs and representatives of civil society.
Antonio Pasco will not move from Medellin. "I entered illegally, and I do not intend to start in the opposite direction. I took a long trip. But as soon as Guaido takes power officially, I'll be the first on the road! " he smiles. Like him, nearly 1.2 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia since the beginning of the crisis in 2016. After Bogota, Medellin hosts most of them.
Sarah Nabli, Medellin correspondent,