This Wednesday there were ample protests in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The country is in a difficult economic situation, with inflation at 600%. People are unhappy and they see early elections as a solution to their problems.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters went out into the street. As they were chanting “This government will fall!” they were marching to demand a referendum. Protesters are asking for a referendum to decide the fate of the current government. There is a provision in the constitution that allows for that. But the government is opposed to it.
Protesters Are Asking for a Referendum
The protests in Venezuela are trying to oust current president Nicolas Maduro. He became the President after the death of Hugo Chavez, in whose government he had served as Foreign Minister. Since assuming power in 2013, he has largely ruled Venezuela by decree. The socioeconomic situation of the country has deteriorated since then. Venezuela is suffering from high inflation, poverty and crime.
On Wednesday, protesters marched along the main highway of the capital city. Political leaders of the opposition addressed the crowd. They made political promises to put more pressure on Maduro’s government to step down.
Henrique Capriles is the leader of the Primera Justicia Party and has run for President in the past. He spoke at the protest.
“This government has lost the most important thing, and that is what we have today: the people. Gentlemen of the government, we are giving you a deadline.”
Said Henrique Capriles.
There were protests in other cities in Venezuela as well. Not all of them went on without any incidents. In Merida, there were clashes between the police and protesters. 73 people were injured in the clash. In a separate incident in the state of Miranda, a police officer was shot and killed.
Political Parties Will Put More Pressure on the Government
The political parties of the opposition promised to march on the presidential palace next Thursday, if the government does not allow for the referendum to go ahead. The opposition formed a united front to the end of Maduro from power.
The political parties opposed to Maduro’s left-wing government want a recall referendum organized. They say that it’s the only way for the country to move forward. But Venezuela’s Electoral Council put an end to their agenda. Last week, they decided to suspend the process to organize a referendum. Opposition leaders were furious, saying that the people need to vote on the issue and have their voices heard.
The political forces asking for a referendum were in the process of collecting signatures from citizens of voting age that are necessary to initiate a referendum in Venezuela. But the ruling of the Electoral Council halted their efforts. This is a new development for Venezuela. Even with a difficult political situation, the country still adhered to the practice of holding elections.
Nicolas Maduro has called the efforts to hold a referendum a coup against his government. But polls show that an overwhelming majority would vote to remove Maduro from power in Venezuela.
Image source: here.