PANAMA’S multi Grammy award winner singersongwriter, Ruben Blades has called on the Venezuelan opposition and government to stop their violent fight for power which has cost 21 lives.
"Violence of the state against the civilian population, or of
civilians against civilians, must cease in Venezuela. It cannot be that Venezuelans die because of the fight between
political factions," said Blades on his website.
Blades 68, who has previously announced plans to run for president in 2019 said the government of Nicolás Maduro is "obstinate" and "intends to remain in power based on a
popularity that it does not possess."
Panama’s current president Juan Carlos Varela has called on the opposing factions to dialogue.
Blades said that the Maduro government "has been closing all avenues for a democratic solution, to the point that today it is almost a de facto dictatorship,".
Venezuela has been the scene of three weeks of clashes leading to 21 deaths hundreds of injuries and looting. Maduro. The government and the opposition have each blamed the other for the violence.
Maduro, with his popularity undermined by a severe economic crisis following the drop in the price of oil, says he is fighting an
"economic war" promoted by the "Venezuelan extremist right," which seeks to overthrow him with the support of the United States.
"He should agree to hold and election immediately and thereby demonstrate his legitimacy," said Blades, a 14time Grammy award winner and Minister of Tourism in the Government of Martin Torrijos (20042009).
Blades also asked the opposition "to act with due civic and human responsibility. Do not cause violence and resist the temptation to come to power at any cost."
He warned it must not return to the prechavismo era, where the economic power "with its abuses and looting of Venezuela produce” was in the hands of a few elite.