- Title: Venezuelan opposition strike patchy amid government threats
- Date: 28th October 2016
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (OCTOBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN CITY MAN SELLING NEWSPAPER VARIOUS OF NEWSPAPERS, INCLUDING HEADLINES THAT READ, "STATE VICTIMS DEMAND MADURO QUIT"; "GENERAL STRIKE LEADS TO SALARY INCREASE" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE QUEUING AT BAKERY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CARACAS RESIDENT, JUAN MEDINA, SAYING: "If I join the protest, I'll lose out. He (President Nicolas Maduro) has to check in to see what the people want, to see if they still want him in power. So see if the people want him in, well, we'll all lose out, but if the people aren't supporting him, (he'll have to go) because people are dying of hunger." PEOPLE WALKING IN CITY BUS PASSING BY PEOPLE GETTING OFF SUBWAY MORE OF PEOPLE WALKING IN CITY STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CARACAS RESIDENT, EDUARDO MARTINEZ, SAYING: "I am not a supporter of the government. I am for the opposition, but I don't agree with a 12-hour strike. It's absurd. It makes no sense. I repeat it's a strike, the existence of which makes no sense." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT NEWS KIOSK (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CARACAS RESIDENT, JOSE CASTRO, SAYING: "This is a political issue - a power struggle, a clash of the titans, to see who can get what. In the end, it's the people who suffer. Work powers the country, without it, there's nothing." MAN MOPPING FLOOR AT OFFICE BUILDING VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN CITY STREET VARIOUS OF CARS ON ROAD IN MORNING
- Embargoed: 12th November 2016 13:34
- Keywords: strike paro opposition Nicolas Maduro Capriles Caracas Venezuela
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00155X6PMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela's streets were quieter than usual on Friday (October 28), but a strike called by the opposition drew patchy participation after the socialist government threatened to seize businesses that closed.
"If I join the protest, I'll lose out. He (President Nicolas Maduro) has to check in to see what the people want, to see if they still want him in power. So see if the people want him in, well, we'll all lose out, but if the people aren't supporting him, (he'll have to go) because people are dying of hunger," said Caracas resident, Juan Medina.
Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unity coalition called for a 12-hour shutdown as part of escalating protests after authorities scuttled its push for a referendum to recall the OPEC nation's unpopular socialist leader.
The government vowed to take over any companies heeding the strike, sending inspectors to ensure they were open. It posted intelligence agents outside Venezuela's main private company Polar. The beer and food conglomerate was working normally.
Business leaders faced arrest if they joined in anti-government actions.
In the capital Caracas, where hundreds of thousands of demonstrators attended anti-Maduro rallies on Wednesday (October 26), traffic was lighter than normal for a weekday and some parents kept children from school.
But businesses such as bakeries and pharmacies were open, with customary lines of shoppers seeking basics like bread and flour which have gone scarce in Venezuela's economic crisis.
"I am not a supporter of the government. I am for the opposition, but I don't agree with a 12-hour strike. It's absurd. It makes no sense. I repeat it's a strike, the existence of which makes no sense," said Eduardo Martinez, 51, unemployed, standing near a bakery line in eastern Caracas.
Traffic was light and public transport fell by about half in the western state of Tachira, where earlier in the week masked protesters clashed with police, witnesses said.
As well as Friday's strike, the opposition is carrying out a political trial of Maduro in the National Assembly and is vowing to march to the Miraflores presidential palace next week unless the recall referendum is revived.
Polls show most Venezuelans want a plebiscite and that Maduro would lose if it went ahead. If he lost a referendum this year, it would trigger a presidential election and a chance for the opposition to end 17 years of socialist rule.
Despite having the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela is suffering a third year of recession, with many skipping meals due to shortages and soaring prices.
Maduro blames the situation on a U.S.-led "economic war" against him and the fall in global oil prices. His supporters were holding rallies on Friday to oppose the strike.
The opposition says Maduro, 53, has effectively carried out a "coup" by sidelining the legislature, arresting opponents and leaning on compliant institutions to squash the referendum. He says it is his foes who are seeking to topple him illegally.
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