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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

VenEconomy: Are Venezuelans Shrugging off Fears?

From the Editors of VenEconomy

While the Government keeps tightening repression and censorship, Venezuelans are shrugging off fears as they started to demand their rights and claim the obligations the State has with them.

This has been reflected in the frequency of demonstrations and protests spreading across the country, in which they demand a better electricity service; better roads or the construction of decent homes. The medical staff at public hospitals is raising protests for the lack of supplies and security at the facilities. School teachers, sportspeople, police officers and even the military officers involved in a coup attempt back in 1992, to whom Hugo Chávez vowed to reinstate in the National Armed Forces but never kept his word.

These protests come from public workers claiming collective bargaining talks, the fulfillment of agreements reached with the Government and fair salary increases so they can fend off the soaring inflation a bit.

Many of these protests, rallies and demonstrations are going nearly unnoticed by the public opinion due to a communicational hegemony by the Government, which owns a wide range of media outlets, and to the censorship imposed to a few privately-run media, where the reality of the country is not completely told. But everything eventually comes to an end, and the Government was not able to cover two key events that took place this week:

One of them happened in Carúpano, Sucre state, when the slayings of four fishermen angered the population there and tried to lynch Luis Marcano, a chief of the CICPC scientific police, who they are holding responsible for the shootings and who escaped from SEBIN (Venezuela’s political police) custody after the events. The local headquarters of CICPC was torn down to pieces as well as many vehicles parked in the surrounding area. A strong reaction from the population forced the Attorney General’s Office to finally start an investigation on the case with the help of the National Guard.

The other were street riots led by attack groups paid by the Government, who took care of blocking nearly every road they could find from Miranda state to Caracas in an attempt to stop a demonstration of Miranda workers on Tuesday, who were demanding the Government to execute the budget corresponding to this state so they could get their salary raises.

These riots were somehow anticipated by Diosdado Cabello, the head of Congress and former Miranda state governor, when he “recommended” workers on Monday not to attend the rally because “something might happen”; as well by Jorge Rodríguez, the mayor of the Libertador municipality in Caracas, who warned Henrique Capriles, the current governor of Miranda state, on Monday night that the “organized people of Venezuela” would be “waiting for him in downtown Caracas.”

Despite these two open threats and the street riots, the workers made it to their destination and submitted a document at the Republic’s Vice Presidency in Caracas.

The price to pay was heavy traffic in the capital and the neighboring zones of Los Teques, Guatire, Guarenas and the Miranda state highlands. But, no matter how much the media outlets from the Government deny this matter, citizens know who encouraged and paid for this anarchy.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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