Venezuela's opposition party calls for two-day strike

Venezuela's opposition party calls for two-day strike”

Venezuelans' preferred option is to move ahead peacefully, along the lines proposed previous year by the Vatican, which called for early presidential elections, a more autonomous parliament, and other measures. The country's corrupt socialist government, headed by Nicolas Maduro, has been unmoved by the unrest, the suffering of its people and even a referendum last week in which millions of people demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the regime. Maduro has accused the opposition party of plotting a coup. For months, youths have blockaded streets and used slingshots, stones, homemade mortars and Molotov cocktails to battle National Guard troops.

"They want to install a communist state in Venezuela, but we're exhausted of getting poorer and will stay in the street because we do not want the Constituent Assembly", said lawyer Jeny Caraballo, 41.

Venezuela's opposition blames Maduro for Venezuela's economic crisis and plans a general strike for Wednesday and Thursday.

Facing intense foreign pressure including the threat of economic sanctions by U.S. President Donald Trump, Maduro has vowed the vote will go ahead despite "imperial" pressure.

Since early April, Venezuela saw mass protests after the decision of the Supreme Court to take over legislative powers from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

"The rational for the selloff was the fear of sector sanctions after the US threatened 'strong and swift actions.' This interpretation is not logical as the United States first pursues a risk-free approach of individual sanctions and is only [in the] early phase of its sanctions program in Venezuela, without any global partners (Organization of American States, United Nations Human Rights Council)".

But the government is showing no sign of backing down, announcing that it will put 232,000 soldiers on the streets to protect voters.

Opponents are boycotting the Constituent Assembly vote, which they see as a farce created to ensure a majority for a government with minority popular support, and demanding instead conventional free elections including for a new president.

Confirming the detention, Venezuela's state prosecutor's office, which has broken with the Maduro administration, called it "illegitimate".

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles also said Zerpa had been imprisoned.

Soldiers have been shooting tear gas canisters straight at the protesters, and also using rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse them in near-daily running battles.

In an interview with Vanessa Neumann, president of business intelligence firm Asymmetrica, Pompeo said, "We are very hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there".

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