DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Thousands of demonstrators filled a park in Doral as they called for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down, hours after they lined the streets of Miami’s Brickell neighborhood.

“Liberty! Liberty!” chanted demonstrators in Spanish during Wednesday evening’s rally.

Protesters who gathered at Downtown Doral Park waved Venezuelan flags and chanted loudly with one goal in mind.

“I wish this nightmare was over, and the people in Venezuela have the freedom they deserve,” said protester Zoryham Malave, who had her country’s flag wrapped around her shoulders.

The large gathering was preceded by a smaller but no less vocal demonstration outside of the Venezuelan Consulate in Brickell.

The protest occurred after Maduro started a new six-year presidency in Venezuela, which many find illegitimate.

He has been president while the South American country has descended into economic and political despair.

The conditions have forced many to flee, including Malave, who said she left Venezuela three months ago.

“I’m afraid to come back, to return to my own country because the attacks of the National Guard and the criminal collectives,” she said.

Demonstrators at the Brickell protest said they are frustrated and concerned over the humanitarian crisis. They blamed the food and medicine shortages Venezuela faces on Maduro and his leadership.

“When the country doesn’t provide you with good education, health and food, that’s when the problem comes, and there is a lot of people with hunger,” said protester Judith Crocker. “They are hungry, and they’re looking for food.”

“It’s a country that used to be the richest one. Right now, the kids don’t have milk, don’t have food, have nothing to eat,” said protester Isabel Lozano. “The old people are dying. People are eating in the street whatever is in the garbage. There’s no doctors, no medicine, no nothing.”

Protesters took to the streets in hopes that the military and others shift loyalty away from Maduro.

Demonstrators in South Florida join others around the globe. All of them are making their voices heard, demanding a change of leadership in Venezuela.

Doral demonstrator Vidal Lorenzo said growing support from the global community could lead to some big changes.

“Almost 19 countries voted against the Maduro regime, and that gives us a support to have faith and really push for liberty and democracy in Venezuela back again,” he said.

Outside South Florida, demonstrations grew even more intense. At least seven people were killed and several others others suffered injuries in Venezuela during the political unrest.

The Trump administration voiced its support for the Venezuelan people, calling Maduro a “dictator” and “illegitimate.”

In a speech that aired on state TV, Wednesday, Maduro refused to step aside, announcing he has severed ties with the U.S.

“As the constitutional president, head of state, head of government, and complying with my role in the oath I took before our people to respect and make others respect the independent sovereignty and the peace of the republic, I have decided to break diplomatic and political ties with the imperialist government of the United States,” he said.

President Donald Trump officially recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who was sworn in as the nation’s president and declared himself interim president.

A massive crowd of supporters converged in Caracas in support of Guaidó, but Maduro has his own supporters. They pushed back on what they called a U.S.-led campaign to remove Maduro.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court dissolved the National Assembly on Monday, making Guaidó the nation’s leader.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., weighed in on the crisis in Venezuela.

“I think Maduro should step aside. I went to the White House yesterday and talked to the president about what to do in Venezuela,” he said. “Maduro is clearly a terrorist. We need to declare Venezuela as a terrorist state. It clearly is. The way Maduro is treating his citizens is disgusting.”

Scott, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and other state leaders went to the White House on Tuesday and asked Trump to formally recognize Guaidó.

Meanwhile, Maduro has given all U.S. embassy employees 72 hours to leave the country. However, just before 8 p.m., U.S. officials said it won’t recognize his order to expel American diplomats.

As local demonstrations continued throughout Wednesday, some said they’re grateful to speak out.

“I was in prison for two weeks,” said activist Simon Vera. “In prison we were tortured.”

Vera said he and eight other students were arrested back in April 2017 for protesting the Maduro regime.

Like so many others in South Florida, Vera had to leave his loved ones behind in Venezuela because of his political beliefs.

“They started threatening my family, they started threatening my friends. Because they were related to me, they started threatening people,” he said, “I couldn’t live with that if something happened to them.”

Speaking with reporters, Trump said a military response from the U.S. is not out of the question.

“We’re not considering anything, but all options are on the table,” he said.

As the rest of the world waits to see what will happen next in Venezuela, activists in Doral said they’re hopeful freedom will reach the South American nation soon.

“That’s why I’m here, and I’m just waiting for the moment to go back home,” said Vera, “to go back home and rebuild the Venezuela that we want.”

Participants at the Doral rally said they know Venezuela faces a long road ahead, but they’re encouraged by the U.S. government’s support for the opposition party.

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