Capriles Calls for Fresh Wave of Peaceful Protests in Venezuela

EspañolOn Monday, January 12, opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on Venezuelans to rally against President Nicolás Maduro in the wake of a deepening economic crisis.

Nicolás Maduro defeated Henrique Capriles in the narrowly contested presidential elections of 2013
Nicolás Maduro defeated Henrique Capriles in the narrowly contested presidential elections of 2013. (Walter Prado)

“Now that the people are in the streets, in the queues, they must mobilize to declare their grievances…. It’s time for the public to wake up, so that their rights are respected. It’s time to express the outrage we feel and the government has no argument to stop it,” said Capriles during a rally at a stadium in Caracas.

Capriles’s call comes almost one year after anti-government protests in Caracas left 43 dead, and hundreds of protesters wounded or detained.

The former presidential candidate and current governor of the state of Miranda told the crowd to hold peaceful protests and rejected the use of barricades to block streets.

Falling oil prices have hit the Venezuelan economy hard. The country’s primary export has been a cornerstone for the Venezuelan state.

In the last few weeks, long queues emerged at Caracas supermarkets and grocery stores due to food shortages coupled with high inflation and price controls.

“The problem is that there is not enough food; the population keeps growing and production continues to fall,” said Capriles in a press release.

Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly, dismissed Capriles’s words and said pro-government demonstrators plan to march on January 23.

Nevertheless, protests are already underway outside the capital. On Monday, dozens of students at the Catholic University of Táchira clashed with local and federal police leaving 30 injured, five in serious condition, including one journalist.

The students reportedly initiated the protest to demand the release of two classmates who they say police took into custody on Monday. Social-media users report similar demonstrations in other states, including Carabobo and Barinas.

Sources: NTN24, El Comercio.

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