Angry Venezuelans burned effigies of Nicolás Maduro and other senior socialist officials on Sunday as part of a traditional “burning of Judas” celebration during the Easter holiday.
In the area of La Candelaria, traditionally a Chavista stronghold, protesters burned a rag doll with the faces of Maduro, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino in front of the Ministry of Interior and Justice, as a way to express their anger at the country’s ongoing economic disaster.
“Why did we decide to burn Vladimir Padrino? Because he is the one that keeps the National Armed Forces keeping Nicolás Maduro in power,” Carlos Julio Rojas, one of the protests organizers, told reporters.
Venezuelans burning President Maduro and other socialist officials in effigy for Easter pic.twitter.com/4dKDVDcK0e
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) April 16, 2017
The burning of Judas is an Easter tradition for many Orthodox and Catholic Christian communities, where an effigy of Judas is burned to mark Jesus’s betrayal in the world’s most famous act of treason.
At a separate event in El Cementario, western Caracas, both opposition and supporters of the regime burned a puppet to represent the country’s recent blackouts, which have worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis by bringing hospitals and other essential public services to a standstill.
José Luis Tovar, a member of the youth wing of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said that with this activity they are looking to show the world that, despite political differences, “as a people we all suffer the same realities.”
A small group of the regime’s supporters in Catia also marked the tradition but, instead, burned effigies of President Donald Trump and legitimate Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó.
“Donald Trump is a traitor like Guaidó that is why we have him there … the American empire has done great damage to our nation,” PSUV member Richard Argüello told Diario de Cuba.
Burning all types of effigies has long been a popular Venezuelan tradition. Similar burnings took place in January to mark the rolling in of the New Year, with citizens targeting other figures including late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, workers at the state oil company, and members of the country’s corrupt electoral board.
As noted by Breitbart at the time, the protests form “part of a 40-year-old Andean tradition known as ‘Quemas del año nuevo,’ (New Year Burnings), where participants incinerate effigies in an attempt to leave behind negative emotions and events of the previous year.” The dolls are meant to be blown up using fireworks, although the high cost of such materials means that most Venezuelans use fire as an affordable alternative.