Protesters block roads in Venezuela ahead of general strike

World Today

Anti-government protesters all across Venezuela’s capital have set up spontaneous road blocks. This comes a day before a planned general strike by opposition parties.

They are angry over a controversial election, and plans by President Nicolas Maduro to re-write the constitution.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Llamas reports from Caracas.

Man-made blockades by protesters using garbage have paralyzed the capital. Walking has become the only reliable transportation for many in Caracas. The opposition is planning a 24-hour strike on Thursday, but some opposition supporters decided not to wait.

“We are tired of waiting for opposition leaders to tell us what to do,” protester Abraham Gonzalez said. “We are the only ones in the streets fighting every day, and when Maduro leaves it will be something accomplished by all of us.”

The opposition held an unofficial vote on Sunday. Leaders said more than 7 million Venezuelans participated, signaling their rejection of President Maduro’s plan to create a constituent assembly with the power to rewrite the constitution.

Henry Ramos Allup, a deputy for the opposition party, and former president of the Venezuelan parliament is hoping for change to come soon.

“Once we have changed the current regime, a democratic leadership will assume the commitment to ensure a democratic government, for everyone—a government which will create a national unity,” Allup said.

The opposition-controlled parliament has also approved a measure to renew public power, which includes naming new Supreme Court judges. Opposition leaders said they hope that will put an end to Maduro’s plans for a constituent assembly and force his hand to schedule presidential elections.

The international community has become increasingly critical of President Nicolas Maduro. The U.S. is threatening to impose severe economic sanctions on several members of his government. And OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, has urged Venezuela to listen to the voices of the people who voted on Sunday.

Maduro claims he’s the victim of an international right-wing conspiracy, and that the leaders of other countries are using Venezuela as a distraction from their own problems.

After more than three months of near-daily anti-government protests, and with the opposition calling for a general strike on Thursday, the political upheaval in Venezuela has clearly yet to play out.