More unrest in Venezuela as president seeks new constitution

Cheryl Sanders
May 3, 2017

National Guard and Police started tear-gassing protesters at 7:00 a.m., several hours earlier than usual, but they were already an hour late: in most parts of Venezuela, key roads and intersections had already been blocked for one hour, as protests against embattled President Nicolas Maduro grow more fierce and the Constitutional crisis engulfing the country more serious.

The most recent protests in Venezuela began on March 30 after Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice, or TSJ, said it would assume the National Assembly's duties - a ruling it later reversed. Maduro blames the economy's troubles on sabotage by his opponents and accuses them of conspiring to overthrow him.

Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro said Monday, May 1 that the "bloodshed" in Venezuela could be avoided with the implementation of elections.

Pressured by growing social discontent, Maduro announced on Monday night that he meant to convene a national assembly to rewrite the constitution and defend the nation from what he called a coup d'état.

From the USA government's perspective, Maduro launched this measure in an attempt to prevent the Venezuelan population from speaking at the polls after suspending regional elections that were to be held in 2016 and the municipal elections to be held this year.

He did not elaborate.Rewriting the constitution requires an election to choose the delegates to the assembly.

"The current constitution is a nothing but an obstacle for the new radical phase of the 'revolution, '" said Datincorp analyst Jesus Seguias in a text to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

"President Maduro spoke last night of selecting people from different. strata of society", he said "He's stacking the deck, and they're trying to preordain the outcome of this".

Maduro has triggered an article of the constitution that creates a super-body known as a "constituent assembly".

The opposition is demanding early elections to replace Maduro.

Maduro was elected in 2013 to succeed his late mentor Hugo Chavez.

But since then, falling prices for Venezuelan oil exports have cut government revenue and there have been shortages of food, baby milk, medicine and other basics.

The International Monetary Fund estimates inflation in Venezuela will hit 720 percent this year.

Jaua stressed that the Constituent Assembly will strtengthen the exercise of Popular Power abnd also proposes to protect the social instruments that sderve the Venezuelan population, as the social missions.

Meanwhile, his security forces fired tear gas at opposition protesters who threw rocks at security forces blocking their march downtown.

People of all ages and class backgrounds are participating in the protests.

"I convoke the original constituent power to achieve the peace needed by the Republic, defeat the fascist coup, and let the sovereign people impose peace, harmony and true national dialogue", Maduro told red-shirted supporters.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles is urging people to take to the streets to protest.

"You must disobey such lunacy!" "And it has the effect of pushing out the possibility of elections this year and probably next year as well".

Other reports by iNewsToday