EspañolA national strike began in Venezuela this Wednesday, July 26, the second one since a July 16 referendum revealed massive opposition to Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorial regime. This one will last for 48 hours, ending on the eve of the National Constituent Assembly planned for July 30, which will rewrite the constitution in Maduro’s favor.
“Everyone should stay in their homes unless they come out to lock up their streets or avenues,” Vice President of the National Assembly Freddy Guevara said.
The streets, avenues and motorways were desolate, as citizens accepted a call to lock down their neighborhoods, and did not hesitate to use social media to report obstacles and repression by state security forces.
Prados del Este, la Av Romulo Gallegos, Santa Mónica y Caricuao de Paro Cívico Activo,nadie quiere seguir viviendo bajo el régimen de Maduro pic.twitter.com/6KHtdMwXXl
— Dip.Richard Blanco (@RichardBlancoOf) July 26, 2017
Congressman Richarc Blanco
Prados del Este, Romulo Gallegos Avenune, Santa Mónica and Caricuao are active in the civic protest. Nobody wants to carry on under the Maduro regime.
— Primero Justicia (@Pr1meroJusticia) July 26, 2017
— Raylí Luján (@RayliLujan) July 26, 2017
#26Jul 9:40am PNB tried to detain young people from La Candelaria. People in the area stopped them and officials fired tear gas.
As a show of disobedience, at least 85 percent of Venezuelans — private civilians, businessman, students, rebels, trade unions, and sympathizers — answered the call for a two-day general strike.
— Unidad Venezuela (@unidadvenezuela) July 26, 2017
On July 16 the people decided and with #26JParoHuelgaYTrancaPorVzla we reaffirm our sovereign rights.
The protest is anchored to the “Taking of Caracas” event planned for Friday, July 28, which will protest the executive branch’s constant attempts to increase its own power. For example, the Supreme Court took over the power of the National Assembly in a move that was described as a coup d’état by opposition leaders and the international community.
Opposition leader and former political prisoner Leopoldo López capped off the strike with a video he published on Twitter, in which he reiterated the importance of peaceful protests.
“Together we can restore democracy,” he said. “If that represents a risk, I am willing to take it because assuming the responsibility to lead means we have to be willing to take risks.”
Henry Ramos Allup, a member of the National Assembly, asked citizens to allow the passage of emergency vehicles, public services and journalists during the 48-hour strike.
The Confederation of Venezuelan Workers announced that it would join the 48-hour strike. Manuel Quiroz, a union leader, stressed that they will not leave the streets or abandon workers.
The Federation of Chambers and Commerce and Production of Venezuela (Fedecamaras) confirmed their participation in the strike as well.
“As trade unionists we support the call for a strike by trade unions and other civil organizations and we give full freedom to our workers and entrepreneurs who decide to join this civic call,” a statement read. “We recognize and defend any mechanism of citizen protest as democratic expression, as long as it remains attached to the constitution and laws.”
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The National Transportation Federation confirmed that all of its members from both the West, East and Southwest neighborhoods of Caracas, in addition to the nation’s 23 states, will suspend activity during the strike.
Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles urged workers and public officials to join the strike while condemning the staff of government institutions for threatening those who don’t support the constituent assembly.
Meanwhile, Freddy Guevara, National Coordinator of the party “Voluntad Popular” said the Armed Forces have the opportunity to stop helping the government, and warned that the protests will continue even if the National Constituent Assembly is suspended, as their ultimate goal is the “fall of the dictatorship.”