SACRAMENTO — Alvaro Rodriguez has been glued to the computer screen since early morning on Tuesday, witnessing the live events that could be a prelude to regime change in his home country of Venezuela.
The owner of a custom printing company, Rodriguez still has relatives and friends in a country that has been wracked by hyperinflation of over a million percent and suffers from power outages and the lack of basic necessities like affordable food and water. Three million Venezuelans, one-seventh of its population, has left the country because of conditions there.
Rodriguez blames it on President Nicolas Maduro who was sworn in for his second six-year term a few weeks ago.
Critics say Maduro and his Socialist Party banned opponents from the election, the vote was tainted and that the office is technically vacant. The leader of the National Assembly Juan Guaido believes that he is now the temporary president under the constitution.
Guaido’s call for citizens to take to the streets to overthrow Maduro is the root of turmoil in Caracas and other parts of the country where at least some of its military leaders have joined the overthrow effort.
“The world needs to get rid of Maduro regime,” Rodriguez said.
At least 60 countries, including the United States, agree. But Maduro has the support of China and Russia, among others. Maduro also says the military is solidly on his side despite the fact that Guaido has appeared at impromptu rallies with uniformed officers at his side.
“This has nothing to do with Socialist versus capitalist, this is a dictatorship,” Rodriguez said. “This is grassroots, this is people fed up.”
The outcome of the revolt in the streets is very much unclear and Rodriguez says he’ll continue to monitor events in his homeland, hoping regime change will happen soon.