Venezuela's opposition movement on Sunday called on the military to enter dialogue with other representative of society amid a wave of near daily protests that so far have left almost fifty people killed. After pledging loyalty to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro last year, the armed forces have effectively enforced a violent policy to curb opposition demonstrations.
According to opposition leaders, Maduro and his supporters met with Venezuela's defense minister to rally support behind the president's plan to form a Constituent Assembly tasked with rewriting the Chavista constitution.
I am appealing to Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez to open the doors of a sincere debate with the armed forces, said Julio Borges, president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
If [key supporters and] Maduro have the right to give a partisan argument to the military on the chaos Venezuela is going through, we ought to have that right as well.
Venezuela has witnessed violent protests since the Supreme Court attempted to strip congress of its legislative powers in late March. Demonstrations far from receding have been increasing in intensity and challenge.
Venezuelans from all walks of life have taken to the streets to oppose what they see as a growing dictatorial maneuvers from Maduro, who was handpicked to lead the country in the wake of populist firebrand leader Hugo Chavez's death. Besides the economy has been crippled with shortages of basic food products, medicines and even essential sanitary elements such as toilet paper, soap and toothpaste.
On Sunday, Mothers Day, dozens of women marched to a command post of the national guard in the Caracas, demanding the country's armed forces end their repressive actions against protesters and common citizens.
Mothers took turn reading an open letter to the armed forces to forsake their allegiance to Maduro's government and protect Venezuelans.
Soldier, listen to your mother. They say that in the barracks, when the trumpet of the homeland calls, even the cries of mothers are silent. Today I am crying. Your homeland demands from you: no more violence, lower your weapons, the letter said.
Since the beginning of April, almost 50 people have been killed and hundreds more injured and detained during anti-government protests. Maduro has attempted to quell the demonstrations and rally support by describing them as a US led conspiracy to unseat him with the support of the local oligarchy.
However, Maduro has failed to redress chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods and rising criminal violence. The economy is estimated to have contracted almost 30% in the last three years and inflation is forecasted to reach over 700% this year.