It Takes a Nation
Millions of Venezuelans joined a general strike called by the opposition, signaling that the desire to oust President Nicolas Maduro is expanding beyond the ranks of middle-class activists.
The general strike was intended to pressure Maduro to cancel elections for a new constituent assembly that would allow him to rewrite the constitution, the BBC reported. But the protest movement that has been underway since April is also geared towardforcing him to hold fresh presidential polls, as well as a postponed vote for governors of Venezuela’s 23 states that was originally slated for 2016.
Clashes between police and protesters killed at least three people, and more than 300 others were reportedly arrested, the BBC said. Maduro dismissed the strike as inconsequential and said its leaders would be arrested.
Meanwhile, Washington has threatened “strong and swift economic actions” if Maduro goes ahead with rewriting the constitution. But it’s not clear if the US is willing to block oil purchases – which would undermine Maduro but also “produce something resembling state collapse in Venezuela,” the Associated Press noted.