Caracas: A Tale of Two Cities as Opposition 'Strike' Begins PDF Print E-mail

Opposition supporters in the more affluent east side of Caracas set up road blocks, while normal life goes on in the western working class.

In the working class areas of west Caracas, Venezuela, where a large percentage of the population lives, public services have not stopped, buses and public transportation are still running as people reject the opposition's call for a 24-hour "strike" Thursday.

Meanwhile, in some parts of the mainly affluent east side of the city, right-wing opposition supporters proceeded to block some of the main roads, preventing transportation from moving normally.

Pensioners were forced to walk for miles from Petare to stand in line to collect their checks. "This has to be fixed, we can't live our lives this way, blocking here, blocking there, they're blocking the streets to their same people," an elderly man told teleSUR.

Right-wing violence continued as there were reports of a man being set on fire after being hit by an explosive thrown from a rooftop. He suffered burns over 27 percent of his body. Another man was injured when his neck was caught on an opposition wire that blocked the road as he rode his motorcycle. Both men were transferred to hospitals.

In another incident, a police post was set on fire across the street from the state television station VTV, which received threats that led to the evacuation of its nursery in order to keep the children safe. The threat was repelled by VTV workers themselves before the national guard arrived and arrested six people accused of provoking the attack.

Although workers who live in western Caracas were finding it hard to reach the eastern areas because of the roadblocks, Oscar Mendible, on the west side said, "We have to continue working, and we can't stop for people who want to interrupt our lives. There's a dictatorship of a small group, they force people to not go to work, and that is not democracy, that is a dictatorship imposed by those people."

The country is preparing for elections on July 30, to choose representatives to the National Constituent Assembly called by President Nicolas Maduro in an effort to ease political tensions and bring about peace.

Hundreds of candidates have been campaigning to serve on the ANC and to secure the Venezuelan people's right to vote against the call to boycott the elections by the right-wing MUD alliance.

"The working class says no to the strike and yes to the Constituent Assembly. The workers will not respond to the call of a strike summoned by the MUD," Francisco Torrealba, a candidate for the ANC said.

He said the opposition has interventionist goals and that is the reason for the strike.

"We continue within the framework of democracy, within the framework of peace," Torrealba said.



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