[News] Venezuela - Chavismo Marches as Opposition Reels from Failed Strike
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 1 13:04:53 EDT 2016
Chavismo Marches as Opposition Reels from Failed Strike
By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
Caracas, October 31st 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com
<http://venezuelanalysis.com>) - The Venezuelan opposition suffered
another setback on Friday, after its call for a national strike went
largely ignored by the majority of the population.
Meanwhile pro-government supporters marched on the Miraflores
presidential palace for the third time in less than a week, against what
they are labelling as escalating right-wing attempts to depose the
*12 Hour Strike *
Riding on the coattails of a huge anti-government march last Wednesday,
opposition leaders grouped under the MUD coalition called on business
owners and ordinary citizens to “turn the Venezuelan streets into a
desert” on Friday by refusing to leave their homes or turn up for work.
The strike was called in response to the postponement of the
opposition’s recall referendum process by the National Electoral Council
(CNE) on October 20, pending investigations into more than 53,000
fraudulent signatures collected in the first stage of the process.
But the MUD strike appears to have been flouted by all except its
hardcore supporters, including by the country’s largest business
In an official communication, the federation called on the government to
“restore the constitutional order” in Venezuela, but conceded that it
was “the decision of each business, along with its workers, to join or
not join the 12 hour general strike called by the MUD”.
In Caracas, supermarkets, pharmacies and banks remained open throughout
the day, although some universities closed as a “preventative” measure
against possible violence. Despite reports of transport disruptions in
the morning, buses were circulating normally by midday.
Citizens also generally eschewed calls to stay in their homes for 12
hours, but some accounts suggest that there were “fewer pedestrians”
than normal on the streets early on in the day.
Most notably the opposition-led boycott of the nation’s streets also
failed to gain traction amongst some its business owning rank and file,
who disagreed with strike action as a way of achieving political change.
“I could join in, because I don’t agree with the economic policies
implemented in the country, or the political situation, but I have
always been a man of work, I don’t share the view of a stoppage, that’s
not an exit-plan out of the crisis,” Maracaibo business-owner Julio Leal
told Venezuelan newspaper Panorama.
Despite the overall lukewarm reception to the strike, MUD leaders touted
the day a success on social media– but were met with hostility from some
of their own supporters.
“Freddy it’s not like that,” said Mariangela de Perez in reply to photos
of Venezuela’s “empty streets” published on Facebook by Popular Will
legislator Freddy Guevara.
“I’d say there are tonnes of people in the streets,” she added.
Other supporters from across Venezuela also took to the legislator’s
Facebook page to vent their frustration at the strike’s lack of support.
“Let me tell you that I went outside just to have a look, and in Maturin
people are in the streets, everything is normal. It looks like the
strike lasted all of half an hour here,” read another comment by Lelys
*Chavistas March *
Across the country pro-government supporters responded to the strike by
staging mass demonstrations, including outside of the National Assembly
and the presidential Miraflores palace in the capital.
The march was addressed by President Nicolas Maduro, and attended by
Vice-President Aristbulo Iturriz, as well as by other prominent members
of the Chavista leadership. They labeled the opposition’s strike action
a “total failure”.
“Today they called for a strike, and even business-owners turned their
backs on them,” Chavista legislator Diosdado Cabello told the crowd.
The Chavista leadership have called for “constant mobilisation” in
defence of the revolution following an apparent attempt to impeach the
president by congress on October 23. Friday’s march is the third time
that government supporters have taken to the streets in less than a week.
Published on Oct 31st 2016 at 2.15pm
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