It’s Sunday Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. on Bolivar Plaza in Caracas, the main square of the Venezuelan capital and the heart of the city’s downtown. The lines of people signing for peace reaches 220 people, but the lines go fast. There are several notebooks that would become part of a letter sent to the United States and signed by, what the government expects to be 10 million Venezuelans. This is the fifth day of signature collection.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced a nationwide collection of signatures Monday, Feb. 4 to defend peace in Venezuela and to demand that the US government cease and desist its interventionist actions and their attempted coup against the nation.
Posts to collect signature were opened in all states of the country starting Feb. 6, which has reached universities, jobs, cultural centers and other spaces in order to encourage voluntary participation from those who want to be a part of this declaration, with the principal points located in the main square of each city.
The one in Caracas is no exception. On Monday, the heart of downtown held its sixth day of signature collection without a break from the large numbers. There were stages set up where musical ensembles of different types of music like Llanera, Joropo and Salsa play daily, and symphony orchestras, plays, and recitals of popular singers such as Ali Alejandro Primera who played Sunday, held performances.
Right at the foot of the great statue of the Great Liberator Simón Bolívar, which crowns the center of the square that bears his name, a long table is arranged with around seven open notebooks to be signed. Volunteers guard the queue and guide people to where they should go. Each one of the sheets of the signature books has the phrase “Hands off Venezuela” stamped on top. The signatories must write down their name, their identity card, their telephone and their signature. And then they either leave or wander around the square, at the edges of whatever presentation is going on that the time.
They aren’t paid anything, nor do they get any benefits for signing. The volunteers who help to manage the lines of people aren’t given any gifts or even recognition. When questioned by a Spanish citizen in a video, people waiting in the queue defended their actions as a commitment to the Bolivarian Revolution.
There is still no fixed date for closing the signature collections, since people continue to arrive every day, to leave their mark on history along with the other thousands of Venezuelans who have already signed. The high influx of people means the government will likely achieve their goal of ten million signatures.