Following non-binding vote, Venezuela’s opposition promises ‘Zero Hour’ strike

World Today

The Venezuelan Opposition is asking its supporters to take part in a general strike on Thursday. The opposition is calling the strike “Zero Hour” — A civil disobedience campaign ahead of the government vote at the end of July.

CGTN’S Juan Carlos Lamas has more.

Opposition leaders took to the podium to announce the next step, even as volunteers were counting the ballots from Sunday’s unofficial vote.

“We call on the whole country to participate in a non- violent general strike on Thursday,” said Freddy Guevara, vice president of Venezuela’s national parliament. “It will last 24 hours and will be used as a mechanism of pressure to continue with our efforts to put a stop on Maduro’s fraudulent call for a constituent assembly.”

According to the opposition, 7.6 million voters rejected the constituent process in a symbolic referendum Sunday. The unofficial vote was devised by opposition parties to challenge the government and to reject President Nicolas Maduro’s plans for a constituent assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution. The strike is the next step for opposition leaders.

“Most Venezuelans live from day to day,” said political analyst Phil Gunson “The money they are able to obtain in a day’s work is not even sufficient to buy food, so to ask people to go on strike, and in many cases to miss out on whatever their small amount of money they get in a day, is asking them a lot, a big sacrifice.”

President Nicolas Maduro says he’s going to move forward with his initiative to create a Constituent Assembly. Government officials say the plebiscite called by the opposition was a waste of time and energy.

“The constituent assembly is the only legitimate and peaceful instrument we can use to solve the political crisis in Venezuela so that we can finally achieve peace,” said Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada. “Therefore it’s our duty as Venezuelans, to make sure peace wins out.”

For over three months, the Venezuelan Opposition has held near daily demonstrations to protest President Maduro’s government. Maduro called on the opposition to participate in a dialogue to solve the current political and economic crisis. But opposition leaders say a dialogue will lead them nowhere, and they’re refusing to take part.

The Zero Hour general strike called for this Thursday is the next step as the opposition intensifies its fight for real change in Venezuela, and to stop the government’s planned elections for a constituent assembly next week.