The Venezuelan community in Toronto is finding hope after Venezuela’s leader of the opposition, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself president on Jan. 23.
Hundreds of Venezuelans gathered at Dundas Square to protest Maduro’s government in which was billed as an opportunity to raise their voices.
Adults and children sang, prayed and protested in support of Guaidó.
Venezuelan Fiorella Pistillo, 21, who arrived to Toronto almost two years ago as a refugee, expressed her happiness regarding the big change that these actions could cause in her life and country.
“I can’t even express how happy I am,” she said. “For the first time in a long time I feel the world is listening to us. This could be the beginning of a big change in the situation of my country.”
Pistillo was part of the Venezuelan party Acción Democratica, and was kidnapped by the Venezuela’s National Guard in 2016 protest, where she alleged she was tortured and beaten, causing a head wound requiring 12 stitches.
“It was one of the worst moments of my life. When that happened I knew that I had to leave the country, I was afraid for my life,” she Pistillo said.
Several countries including United States and Canada recognized Guaidó’s presidency in recent days.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland posted on Ttwitter a statement saying that Canada recognizes Guaidó as the interim President of Venezuela.
Canada recognizes Juan Guaidó, National Assembly President, as the interim President of #Venezuela. We stand with the Venezuelan people + their desire to restore constitutional democracy. Read my statement: https://t.co/zpoTWtS1Ae
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) January 24, 2019
The 35-year-old engineer was elected as the president of the National Assembly on Jan. 1, and invoked an article in Venezuela’s constitution that permits the head of the National Assembly to assume the power of the nation for 30 days if the presidency is vacant, which Guaidó’s party consider is the case because last year’s elections were invalid.
Thousands of Venezuelans moved to Canada in recent years, but many of them do not rule out the possibility of returning to their country If the government changes.