Supporters of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets across the country Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of his death from cancer.
A planned military parade in the capital city of Caracas was set to demonstrate current president Nicolas Maduro’s ability to mobilize the population, reports Reuters, as a series of violent anti-government protests continue to undermine his leadership.
Chavez was immensely popular among the poorest members of Venezuela’s population, thanks to his anti-American rhetoric and generous spending on slum projects. Yet barely a year after his death, his successor has faced a series of challenges from the protests, which have resulted in a reported 18 deaths. Maduro has been blamed for not doing enough to overcome many of the country’s problems, including rampant crime and spiraling living costs.
However, Chavez’s cousin Guillermo Frias claimed that although Chavez “changed Venezuela forever,” he insisted that “Maduro is also a poor man, like us. He’s handling things fine. Perhaps he just needs a stronger hand.”