Venezuela opposition boycotts Maduro's constitution rewrite

Patrice Gainsbourg
Mai 8, 2017

Thousands of women marched across major cities in Venezuela on Saturday, 6 May as they protested against the socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The opposition is protesting against the decision of President Nicolas Maduro convene a new kind of Parliament without elections, which will replace the current National Assembly will have the power to change the country's Constitution.

"In all of Trump's conversations with leaders in Latin America, the topic of Venezuela comes up - and it's raised by him", Borges said, adding that "this top-of-mind concern Trump has about Venezuela is very valuable for us". They were halted at various points by lines of policewomen and National Guard troops with armoured cars.

Lopez, leader of the Federation of University Centers and member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, was shot after leaving an assembly held on the university's campus.

They also want the government to free scores of jailed activists, allow humanitarian aid from overseas to offset a brutal economic crisis and respect the independence of the legislature where the opposition won a majority in 2015.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said in a statement that Maduro's "disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people has heightened the political and economic crisis in the country".

As women banged on pans and some stripped off their white shirts in an event the opposition billed as a "women's march against repression", the video footage of two men destroying the statue in the western state of Zulia was carried by local media.

Women have often been feeling the brunt of Venezuela's economic crisis due to widespread food and medicine shortages, huge lines at shops, soaring prices and increasing hunger in the nation of 30 million people.

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A lawmaker taking part in the protest, Gaby Arellano, told AFP that some in the security forces "were wondering if today they were going to open fire on their wives, daughters or mothers".

Opposition leaders say the constituent assembly is a biased mechanism created to keep an unpopular leader in power.

Pro-government women's groups were planning a counter-demonstration.

The protest movement has drawn masses of people into the street almost every day since March, and shows no sign of slowing. "If we have to, we will give our lives in the street until Maduro goes".

The MUD opposition coalition showed scenes on its Twitter account of women demonstrating in at least 10 states in the interior after the anti-Chavista platform called for protests in every state capital.

Officials are hoping they become exhausted and disillusioned, while highlighting the violence of young opposition hotheads to try to discredit the whole opposition.

Venezuelans and fellow classical music performers have blasted Dudamel in the past for being cozy with Maduro.

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