A “motorized force” of socialist thugs drove around the state of Miranda, Venezuela, on Monday, forcing civilians to sign a petition demanding President Donald Trump and the United States cease efforts to remove Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime from power.
State propaganda outlet VTV reported that the group turned up at Bolivar Square in the Mirandan capital of Guaicaipuro demanding that people sign their #NoMásTrump (#NoMoreTrump) campaign. After patrolling seven of the city’s various parishes, the thugs reportedly obtained 1,400 more signatures.
“Today we are defending the peace of Venezuela, we brought all our signatures to ratify once again the commitment we have with the revolutionary process and the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez,” said Elio Amundaray, a representative of the National Motorized Union of Venezuela. “It is not a time for distractions, the goal is one and it is the peace of Venezuela and we are willing to defend the country.”
According to the director of the Commission of Integral Defense of the Nation in the Guaicaipuro municipality, Ruben Díaz, the motorists were engaged in a “highly patriotic activity,” having received political and military training in anticipation “for any attempt of threat on the part of the North American empire with its economic sanctions and the blockade.”
Such groups and militias are regularly employed by the socialist regime to intimidate and harass opposition as well as coerce vulnerable communities into providing their support. As noted by U.N. Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet in her recent report on the country’s human rights crisis, “pro-government armed civilian groups, known as colectivos, have contributed to the deteriorating situation by exercising social control and helping repress demonstrations.”
The #NoMásTrump campaign was announced by Maduro this month as an attempt to deter Washington from imposing additional rounds of economic sanctions against the regime, an indication that they are proving increasingly effective.
“The global protest against Trump and his blockade that makes the people of Venezuela suffer,” Maduro declared at the time. “One slogan: #NoMoreTrump. Enough of making Venezuela suffer. Get your hands off Venezuela, Donald Trump! Venezuela has the right to a future where its self-determination is respected and it has the right to build its own economic and social models.”
The crux of the campaign is a petition for which the regime hopes to receive 13 million signatures, just under half of the Venezuelan dwindling population, that will be delivered to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at next month’s General Assembly in New York.
Although there are some fears that the sanctions may be affecting the Venezuelan people, who are already suffering under the pressure of one of the world’s most severe economic and humanitarian crises, the sanctions are primarily aimed at squeezing the regime’s access to financial resources to the point of their removal.
It is therefore highly unlikely that Maduro will obtain his goal of 13 million signatures, as many Venezuelans actively support the sanctions in the hope that they will help remove the socialists from power. However, there is every chance that Maduro will simply lie or fiddle the numbers, as he has consistently done in recent years by manipulating and rigging election results in favor of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).