Caracas — A massive protest was called by different opposition leaders in Venezuela on Thursday to demand the electoral body to stop delaying the recall referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
On Thursday, million of Venezuelans are expected to show up at the heart of the city to participate in an 11-mile march to express their discontent toward the electoral body that is postponing the date for the recall election. The electoral body in Venezuela, known as CNE, has delayed the referendum process to held it next year and stop the opposition from taking over the country that is suffering its worst economic crisis in 50 years.
If the referendum is set before January 10, and the opposition wins, new elections will be held and the country would be freed from a government that has ruled since 1999. But if the referendum happens after January 10 and President Maduro is recalled, his loyal vice-president will serve out until 2019 when new presidential elections would take place.
An opposition congressman in the National Assembly for Bolivar state, Americo de Grazia, said on local radio that Venezuelans from all parts of the country have traveled to the capital city to join the march and show the government their discontent in a peaceful, constitutional and democratic way.
The coalition of opposition parties, MUD, said the referendum’s processes have been marred by a series of setbacks imposed by the president of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena. The latter is loyal to the late Hugo Chavez and the current President Nicolas Maduro which makes the electoral body lose its objectivity.
“The Caracas takeover” is the product of years of frustration due to the deteriorating economic and political situation in the country. The IMF estimates the inflation in Venezuela has reached more than 700 percent, and the economy is expected to curb by 8 percent by the end of the year.
A regular day in Venezuela involves making 6-hour-long lines, or more, at grocery stores and pharmacies to obtain scarce basic foods and medicines due to massive corruption behind financial control in Venezuela. The power goes out constantly while Caracas has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
President Maduro insists the economic crisis is a coup attempt from the U.S.
The opposition blames the government for corruption and spending Venezuelans’ money for their personal use, which has led to the current economic crisis. U.S. prosecutors are currently investigating several high-ranking Venezuelan officials, including former president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello, in cases related to drug trafficking and money laundering.
But the government says the economic crisis has been orchestrated by the United States along with the opposition. In the run-up to the protest, a number of politicians were detained for allegedly carrying a detonator cord and explosives.
Diosdado Cabello also reacted to the protest and said Nicolas Maduro is the president and he will not be going anywhere. “We’re telling you, Nicolas will continue being president.”
Source: NBC News