100 days of protests in Venezuela

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Venezuela hits symbolical mark of 100 days of anti-government protests on Saturday, and in addition makes a creepy record of about 1500 injured and at least 92 dead.

By deciding to release opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez from prison and place him under house arrest, government with Nicholas Maduro in charge is bringing some hope that they could be reasoned and sat down to resolve the matter by dialogue end finally end this bloodbath.

All of this started in 2015 when opposition got in control of National Assembly with a vast majority as a result of dissatisfaction by Maduro’s handling of the problems like food shortages, spiraling crime and bad economy handling. After a year, the Supreme Court, assembled by the government issued a ruling which stripped the legislature of its powers. The choice was later turned around in the midst of a tempest of universal feedback yet it had  touched off outrage among the government’s rivals and activated protests that still happen every day.

Than, on 1st of May Maduro called on changing the constitution of Venezuela. A vote to choose the representatives for the special assembly to change the constitution is planned for July 30th. Maduro sees rewriting the constitution as the only solution and only way for reestablishing peace. The opposition on the other hand sees it as a ploy to introduce a Cuba-like dictatorship. Opposition called for their own symbolic vote on July 16th.

General atmosphere and state between the government and the opposition is the way it is because of last years negotiations that had little to none results. For new rounds of negotiations, opposition is asking Maduro to fulfill what he promised on last negotiations. They demand freedom for political prisoners and a schedule for gubernatorial elections that were put off last year. It’s not very clear what would government ask for in negotiations except for ending the protests and executing some harsh measures for the sake of economy. Some also consider Maduro’s weakening, and in that case it’s certain that he, and many close to him will try to avoid prosecution.

It is believed that Maduro had imprisoned over 100 military members for crimes such as theft or even treason. Which indicates that military is not so fond of the government. While Maduro warned about “U.S.-backed agents” trying to revolt army, there are no evidence of mass revolt coming.

Oil export income makes 96 percent of whole Venezuela’s export income, and the fall of prices in the world oil industry struck the state hard. Venezuela owes everyone from foreign airlines to oil companies. This makes everything harder for Maduro, and later and his successor. The International Monetary Fond predicts fall of  8 percent in the economy this year, and huge inflation, that could climb up to four digits next year.

Surveys show that Maduro has only 20 percent of people supporting him, and about 75 against him. And although Maduro holds every branch of government and institutions, his support inside ruling socialist party is slowly coming apart. On the other side opposition has history in being divided and cannot relate to poor people as Maduro can. However they are now more united than ever, as they have the same goals – backing the protests and insisting on new general elections.