|Voice of America
Opposition protesters carry their
continue to seek recall of Maduro
By the A.M. Venezuela
Empty shelves fill the aisles at stores and
pharmacies across Venezuela while rolling power
outages and scheduled blackouts force shopping
centers to scale back their hours.
The economic crisis in Venezuela, which came as
the result of falling oil prices and decades of
financial mismanagement, culminated this week,
with President Nicolas Maduro announcing a
60-day state of emergency.
The decree has been rejected by the opposition,
which took to the streets this week calling for
a referendum to force his ouster.
"What we are demanding is that we have a right
for a transition to democracy in peace,"
Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina
"We know that this regime is willing to do
anything to stop the right of the people, the
will of the people, to live in freedom and
democracy," she said. "But they won’t silence
the people of Venezuela, not anymore."
Last month, the opposition began the process of
collecting some 4 million signatures needed to
trigger the recall vote.
"I think President Maduro doesn't have many
options other than trying to stay in power by
hook or by crook," said Washington, D.C.-based
analyst Kevin Casas Zamora, of the
"He knows that if there is a recall, he’s
going to lose it," he added.
Casas said although the opposition may be able
to collect the signatures for a recall, it may
have little recourse.
"The thing is the noises that we’ve been
hearing over the past few days suggest the
government is closing the avenue of a recall
altogether," he said.
"And that’s precisely what is so serious about
the situation, that if you close up that
avenue, there is really no peaceful option to
settle what has become political gridlock on a
grand scale," Casas said. He is a former vice
president of Costa Rica under Óscar Arias
Wednesday, Maduro predicted the demise of the
opposition-led parliament weeks after
threatening a constitutional amendment to cut
short its five-year term. The Venezuelan
leader also accused the United States of
plotting a scenario of violence in the country
to justify a foreign military intervention to
force him from power.
The International Monetary Fund predicts that
inflation in Venezuela, which is already the
world’s highest, could more than double in
2016, topping out at more than 720 percent.
--May 22, 2016