"We Are Tired Of Being Killed" Venezuelan Opposition Vows Violent Response To Maduro Power Grab

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has made it clear: Nothing short of the invasion threatened by President Donald Trump will stop him from holding a vote on a new constituent assembly that will officially replace the country’s legislature and likely allow the embattled president to rewrite the country’s Constitution, cementing his grip on power.

According to Bloomberg, Maduro has said the vote will be held next week in defiance of threats of US sanctions, and calls by his opponents for a two-day general strike. If approved, the new assembly will replace the country’s previous opposition-controlled assembly, which was annulled by the Maduro-controlled Supreme Court in March.

Once approved, it’s widely believed that Maduro will stock the assembly with political allies who will enable the re-drafting of the country’s constitution, allowing Maduro to consolidate power and officially marginalize anyone who opposes his regime.

President Nicolas Maduro

In the face of mounting violence, opposition lawmakers are urging citizens to demonstrate at polling places in a last-ditch attempt to foil the vote. The death toll from street demonstrations demanding Maduro’s exit that have become a daily occurrence  in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities since they started in April recently topped 100.

“Deputy Simon Calzadilla, speaking for Unidad Democratica, urged Venezuelans to go to their electoral centers Monday at 10 a.m. to place protest banners and signs that say ‘in my voting place there won’t be a constituent assembly.’

 

Calzadilla, in an email, also asked citizens to rally to Caracas next Friday to “demand massively” that Maduro’s government halt the assembly vote.

 

If the regime doesn’t cancel this fraud by Friday, the party will inform of the actions it will behold on July 29 and 30, Calzadilla said in the statement. “Center by center, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood to defeat Maduro’s proposal.”

The US has threatened “strong and swift economic actions” against the regime, which could force Venezuela into a default if the US stops buying hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day from the country. The creation of the assembly will enrage millions of Venezuelans who are fighting against the entrenchment of the Maduro regime. Unsurprisingly, Maduro is struggling with abysmally low approval ratings. In a symbolic vote, 7.5 million Venezuelans who participated in an unsanctioned ballot overwhelmingly voted against the assembly.

In the run up to the vote, violence against Venezuela’s political opposition is intensifying. On July 5, Venezuela’s independence day, a mob of pro-government thugs brutalized a group of opposition lawmakers who were protesting Maduro’s plans to hold a vote on the new assembly. The irony of this exercise in repression was probably lost on the Maduro regime, which denied involvement and condemned the attack.

Opposition member Simon Calzadilla

Frustrated by the rising death toll, some protesters are banding together to form militias, abandoning the strategy of peaceful protest espoused by the opposition and diving headlong into violent urban guerilla warfare. One Bloomberg reporter followed a would-be militia group during one of its meetings, where members created Molotov cocktails and practiced assembling their weapons.

The protesters were explicit in expressing their distaste for the president.

“The security forces they’re up against, the riot-helmeted troops shooting tear-gas canisters and water cannon and bullets? “They all deserve to die,” one of the bomb makers said flatly, dripping petrol into a jar.

 

The call to arms coming from some in the resistance may be the initial stirrings of the kind of urban guerrilla movement the country hasn’t seen in half a century. It’s too early to tell if they’ll follow through on their threats, but the bold talk is a troubling sign for mainstream opposition leaders who have issued instructions - pleas, recently - for peaceful rallies and marches. Those calls increasingly fall on deaf ears. Masked activists hurl their homemade bombs, rocks, jars filled with feces, anything they can get their hands on. They’ve stormed office buildings, shattered store windows and blocked roads.”

“We are tired of being killed,” one demonstrator who refused to show his face or give his name told Bloomberg. “We are willing to go out with guns, to face them as equals,” he said. “The protest must evolve.” The demonstrator claimed to be a teenager from a middle-class neighborhood – fitting the profile of many of the young men who’ve died in the demonstrations.

Collapsing oil prices and years of economic mismanagement led to Venezuela's economic collapse beginning when the price of crude plunged in 2014. It seems that the vote, which the opposition has already written off as hopelessly rigged, will one way or another lead to the next evolution of Venezeula’s rolling political and fiscal crisis – be it a revolution or bankruptcy. The country is struggling with, dwindling foreign reserves, bond yields as high as 36%, and looming payments on billions of dollars of oil-company bonds that were bought by Russia. Meanwhile, its citizens are struggling with hyperinflationary hell that has rendered dollars 1000x more expensive than they were in 2010.  

As we reported yesterday, Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, believes the country’s next crisis point will arrive by Christmas. But with much of Venezuela resembling the lawless Detroit from the movie RoboCop - public mobs routinely lynch suspected thieves, and gangs of bikers waylay merchants carrying commodities to market – it’s difficult to imagine how the situation could get any more dire for the country’s desperate citizens. The only options left for them, it seems, are to forcefully demand regime change, or pray that the price of oil moves back toward $100 a barrell.
 

Comments

a Smudge by an… W270 Mon, 07/24/2017 - 20:57 Permalink

Odd thing. Anyone on the left will blame the USA for Venezuela's failure because...well this is correct from pretty much any Latin American nation that doesn't toe the line.

Trump's latest great idea to Make The World Great For America plays right into those hands.

However, one doesn't need the CIA, the CFR, the WB or any other nefarious tool of power to explain what's happening in Venezuela now. Chaves took their gold reserves, formerly the second to largest in this hemisphere and spent it on the people. Then I guess he and Maduro never thought the price of oil to go down but it did.

And now their partner in the Bolivarian Revolution (Ecuador) just jumped ship on OPEC and broke through the price control bottom.

It really doesn't matter if we stop buying from them. Nobody else outside of Latin America is gonna buy from them. We're in a supply glut. At the moment nobody really needs their stupid oil.

In reply to by W270

goober W270 Tue, 07/25/2017 - 01:20 Permalink

I agree, many ZHers lose site of what is real because they are consumed in their own brand of paranoia and misguided intelect. Should be obvious the CIA is not actively pushing anything in Venezuala, at least not at this juncture. Also note that Trump has not cozied up to Maduro like BHO did with his predecessor Chavez. They are simply letting them destroy themselves and laying back. The people will solve it once they have had enough and they will show wimpy Americans how it is done ! Many ZHers are consumed in what was,not what is !

In reply to by W270

goober Shemp 4 Victory Tue, 07/25/2017 - 01:04 Permalink

This has been inevitable for years in the making. Ann once it is spoken and acted on which it already has been with the helicopter and grenades, it will get very shitty ! It should be clear the CIA has NOT been involved so far . But many ZH fools are paranoid and mind fucked to many realities. I despise what the CIA has morphed into, but I can also see what is real ? Venezuela is that perfect place for CIA intervention and you have seen zero. Only because our gov knows Maduro will sink his own ship which he has been dong in spades. Chavez was even worse. So why not just let them destroy themselves as they have done. Notice Trump has not cozied up to any of them like BHO did.

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

Non-Corporate Entity Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:15 Permalink

The people are not armed, and they've eaten all their pets. Now their "president" wants more power. I would hope the army and police join the people. If not, they'll need some outside help. Perhaps our Bill of Rights looks more attractive to them now.

Shemp 4 Victory Non-Corporate Entity Mon, 07/24/2017 - 21:40 Permalink

Weak trolling detected.Venting impotence through an unthreatening release outlet is US citizen definition of freedom of speech.That is why they need exaggerated dictator caricatures to give flesh to their fantasy. That is why they need to believe that this kind of venting is forbidden in foreign nations.Quite a number of people confuse freedom of speech with their irrelevancy to the power apparatus. Harmless people are no threat to powerful people and thus allowed to speak.

In reply to by Non-Corporate Entity

The Iconoclast Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:20 Permalink

Huh, it's almost like this leftist is unwilling to give up power, no matter what.  I was educated in public schools and my teacher told me this has never happened before.

The Iconoclast Blue Balls (not verified) Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:35 Permalink

Yeah, no shit.  I left the sarc tag off.Solzhenitsyn wrote about how in the gulag the prisoners would talk about how smalltime the Soviet state was at first, how easily they could have made it suffer just in knocking off NVD paddywagons and their drivers and shit, but everybody kept their heads down and of course by the time they were sent to the gulag it was way too late.

In reply to by Blue Balls (not verified)

crazzziecanuck The Iconoclast Mon, 07/24/2017 - 20:20 Permalink

Solzhenitsyn was largely full of sh*t.  Later on in life, he realized that shit in the Wast wasn't much better.  But we never hear his critiques of the West.  Ever.  Because he was a crackpot dissident in the USSR, the West gave him his own bullhorn and instrumental in their little propaganda games and took it away once reality set in.By the time the NKVD was formed in the mid-1930s, the problem was way bigger than just the NKVD.  Bumping them off wouldn't have made much of a difference.  The table was long set, as they say.

In reply to by The Iconoclast

Stormtrooper Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:22 Permalink

Wait a minute!  Is 7.5 million a majority in Venezuela?  Or is a minority just trying to prevent the majority of voters from doing stupid like the voters in France, Greece and Italy and voting for Maduro to increase their misery to from very bad to unbearable?  It is not up to democratic America (god I hate that word democracy vs Republic) to interfere with an election by citizens of a foreign nation.  Hah, hah!  Let'em eat cake.  Or dogs.  Or cats.  Or whatever happens by.

logicalman Mon, 07/24/2017 - 19:07 Permalink

Voters rarely know why they vote the way they do.Voters rarely have a clue of the issues they are voting on.Voters rarely take the time to find out anything about how government 'works'Voters rarely realise that voting makes no difference.That's why they keep going out and doing it.Ripe for scare tactics that the wealthy are able to fund.The situation in Venezuela was easily predictable years ago. They have oil and the US wants to control it. V decided not to play ball. Trouble is V is a team of 145 pound amateurs up against 350 pound steroid filled professionals.

1936ryer Mon, 07/24/2017 - 19:22 Permalink

This article is bullshit -- this is not about socialism or communism -- it is about a corrupt oligarchy class of pigs.  Pretty much what we have here only worse.