Opposing the Government of Nicolás Maduro participate in a protest on January 18, 2017, in Caracas, Venezuela. Chris Wick CTN News

The Venezuela opposition has called for marches in Caracas and other cities in the country on Monday to press for the holding of regional elections this year, while the ruling party called for a mobilization in the capital in memory of a late leftist leader.

Under the slogan “we are hungry, we want to vote”, the opposition coalition seeks to have their marches reach the headquarters of the National Electoral Council, although they are unlikely to arrive at their destination because so far the authorities have not authorized the demonstrations.

These marches mark the return to the streets of the opposition, which since the end of October had suspended protest actions following the activation of a dialogue table, which was paralyzed last month due to mutual accusations of the government and the opposition alliance on “non-compliance with the agreements”.

The opposition coalition’s executive secretary, Jesús Torrealba told CTN News that Monday’s marches seek to pressure a “political solution” to the severe Venezuelan crisis through elections.

Venezuela is in a complex situation: triple-digit inflation, severe food shortages, medicines and other commodities combined with a economic recession.

The electoral authorities promised to define the first half of the year the elections of governors and mayors, but so far have not offered a date for those elections.

Torrealba ruled out that the new efforts being made by the international facilitators to reactivate the talks could stop the actions of the opposition.

“We are going to fight for the right to vote,” he added.

Opposition sectors claim that the right to vote has been “stolen” since October, after electoral and judicial authorities suspended a referendum on President Nicolas Maduro’s recall.

The Secretary General of Unasur Ernesto Samper, the apostolic nuncio Aldo Giordano and the former presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain; Martín Torrijos from Panama and Leonel Fernández from the Dominican Republic handed over to the government and opposition last week a set of proposals that are being evaluated.

Allied sectors also called for a march in the western of the city to celebrate the transfer of the remains of leftist leader Fabricio Ojeda, who died in 1966 in a prison, to the historic National Pantheon where several heroes are buried.

The ruling party and the opposition will celebrate once more the establishment of democracy in Venezuela since 1958 after the fall of the dictatorship of General Marcos Perez Jimenez.


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