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Calgary’s Venezuelan community rallies to demand fair and free presidential elections in their homeland

Several dozen Venezuelan Calgarians gathered at Calgary City Hall Saturday afternoon calling for free and fair presidential elections in that country.

They are angry the Maduro government violated the Barbados Agreement that was signed last October by both the Maduro government and the Venezuelan opposition Democratic Unitary Platform to ensure a fair and free presidential election this July.

“They agreed on the procedures and everything. Right now, the government is not following all the procedure that the both parties agreed to back in October,” says rally organizer Freddy Olivares.

“The opposition got together and unified as one party and now there is a clear leader for the opposition to represent us in the presidential elections.”

The Democratic Unitary Platform held that primary election on October 22, 2023 and Maria Corina Machado was the winner with 93% of votes among more than 2.4 million voters.

However, in January, the Venezuelan Supreme Court decided to disqualify her from participating in the election.

The Canadian Government supports the Barbados Agreement and condemns the Maduro regimen as it controls Venezuela’s institutions including the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.

Nicolás Maduro has been president of Venezuela since 2013. His new six-year presidential term began in January 2019 kicking off a presidential crisis that spanned nearly four years and divided the international community.

In 2014, shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards led to a wave of protests that escalated into daily marches nationwide and a decline in Maduro’s popularity.

According to estimations by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, under Maduro’s administration, more than 20,000 people have been subject to extrajudicial killings and seven million Venezuelans have been forced to flee the country.

Similar rallies were also held Saturday in Toronto and Montreal.

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