‘We are on the streets for a living wage’: Massive protests against Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela

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Under the slogan “we are on the streets for a decent salary”, thousands of public and private workers, teachers, doctors and retirees marched in Caracas on Monday for the third consecutive week to demand wage increases to the government of Nicolás Maduro, which, despite still uncontrolled inflation, ensures that the Venezuelan economy is growing and that the crisis is under control.

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Hundreds of demonstrators marched in the capital to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the fall of the military dictatorship of former president Marco Pérez Jiménez, also to demand better working conditions. But security forces blocked their way towards the highways.

The demonstrators started from the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), the most important in the country, and marched shouting slogans and waving banners to the center of Caracas, without any incidents.

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“We are teachers, we are not criminals”, “No to starvation wages or death pensions”, were some of the slogans that punctuated the protest led by around 2,000 participants.

police cordon

Riot police officers formed barriers at various points along the route to avoid roadblocks. Some of the protesters called on them to join the fight to get a “decent” income in the country where the minimum wage is around $7: “Police listen, join the fight!” they chanted.

One of those who addressed the police was Víctor Pérez, a worker at a private clinic, who walked with a banner in which he embodied a message dedicated to the security forces, accused in the past of repressing demonstrations: “Police for your salary We too fight, what I want is for (Socialist President) Nicolás (Maduro) to leave now,” it reads.

“I’m fighting for you too, put your hands on your heart, you too are Venezuelans, every time we march you block our streets,” Pérez shouted in one of the police lines formed a few blocks from the presidential palace in Miraflores.

“We don’t want a confrontation, we want to march, we want to defend workers’ rights,” said Eduardo Sánchez, president of the National Union of Workers of the UCV.

Sánchez said that “the democracy that is commemorated today is not just a vote, it is not just the participation of parties, it is inclusion, quality of life and let’s say that there is no inclusion or quality of life”.

The union leader added, “People are exhausted, we can’t survive on $6 when the basic basket is around $500. We have every right to be on the street,” he said.

For his part, the deputy Oscar Figuera, secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV, an ally of Chavismo) announced that the PCV “broke” with the government because “it betrayed the historic project of President Hugo Chávez”.

“The party has decided to break with the Maduro government because of its anti-worker economic policy of labour, repression against executives, meager wages and a policy that benefits big capital sectors and not the people,” he said. underlined.

At 94, retired nurse María Nieves was another of those who came out to demand improvements from the Maduro government. “I left without breakfast because I have nothing to eat in my house“, he assured.

Nieves, who has worked for 40 years in public administration, said her son hardly helps her with “a small market” because she too lacks resources. She says that to survive she sells “trinkets (candy)” on the street.

Teacher Elsa Castillo, whose image has strengthened in recent demonstrations, said wage shortfalls are impacting a poor nutrition of students.

“The child who doesn’t eat doesn’t learn”, underlined the teacher who retired from the public administration in 2015 and is now dedicated to giving private lessons and advising students on thesis.

Maduro, in an official march

At the same time, Chavismo also called a march to demand the “end of the blockade” and the sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries in order to put pressure on the departure of Nicolás Maduro, whose re-election, in 2018, they consider ” fraudulent”.

Called by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the mobilization dubbed the “anti-imperialist rebellion” started from two points in the Venezuelan capital and arrived at the Miraflores Palace, where it was welcomed by Maduro himself, who at the last minute canceled the trip that Argentina had planned to participate in the Celac summit, which takes place this Tuesday.

“We are in all the states of Venezuela holding demonstrations, whoever wants to see them, let them be seen, let them be observed, demonstrations by the revolutionary people, on foot, Chavistas, but also by the ordinary citizen who accompanies these mobilizations who ask that there no longer be sanctions,” said Diosdado Cabello, first vice president of the Psuv and number two of Chavismo.

“The United States has not lifted a single sanction against the people, on the contrary, it has added sanctions, increasing pressure against our country, threats, blockade,” he noted.

Maduro, meanwhile, dressed in a jacket in the colors of the Venezuelan flag, walked among a crowd of supporters gathered in central Caracas to demand the suspension of “criminal sanctions”.

He indicated that “today the people raise the banners of peace, integration and national unity” and highlighted the “countless” calls for dialogue that Maduro has addressed to the opposition.

Source: Agencies

B. C

Source: Clarin

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