Leroy N. Soetoro
2016-10-09 18:31:41 UTC
CARACAS, VENEZUELA In the last few months, Venezuelan politics pretty
much has revolved around the oppositions push for a vote to recall
President Nicolas Maduro, which the socialist government has fought
vigorously and with the executive and judicial powers it still controls.
But the governments latest effort to stop the referendum is by far the
On Monday, a high-ranking Chavista announced that a big chunk of public
employees who are supportive of the vote, and signed a petition for it
back in April, will lose their job.
Jorge Rodriguez, who is also mayor of Caracas, said all public employees
at the manager level who offered their signature to have the referendum
process started have 48 hours to resign or else will be fired.
He said the ruling party will provide ministers and public companies a
list with all the names.
In the public administration we cannot have as managers people who dont
support the revolution, he said in a press conference.
In Venezuela there are approximately 3 million public employees, but
according to law only those who hold a manager position can be let go
Servando Carbone, director of the National Federation of Public Workers,
told Fox News Latino that as many as 10,000 people could lose their job
this week due to the governments most recent move.
They are doing it as threat to all the public workers and to make them
afraid of supporting the referendum in the future, the union leader said.
In order for the recall vote to take place this year, thus guaranteeing
that Chavismo is out of power, the opposition needs to collect almost 4
million signatures (20 percent of the electorate) by the end of October.
Those people expressed their support for the right-wing opposition, said
Mayor Rodriguez with an accusatory tone.
This is not the first time public employees feel pressure from the ruling
party that pays its salary.
[Since Aprils collection of signatures] we have compiled around 1,200
cases of people who have been fired, Carbone told FNL, adding that the
International Labor Organization was made aware of the situation.
Almost half of the public workforce in Venezuela (about 1.2 million
people) is made up of temporary employees, who are perceived as more
susceptible because their job depends on the renewal of their contract.
They like this kind of workers because they can be manipulated, Carbone
The 48-hour ultimatum comes as the opposition prepares what it hopes will
be a massive protest rally on Sept. 1, powerful enough to force a vote
That day begins the last stage of Maduros government, said opposition
lawmaker Freddy Guevara. To be able to vote, we have to go out and
protest. The protests have to be massive, steady and pacific, he added.
In the meantime, student activists and political figures such as Lilian
Tintori, wife of imprisoned Leopoldo Lopez, are starting to heat up the
mood with events and demonstrations in Caracas and across the country. On
Monday night, governor and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles
called on people from all over the country to go to Caracas for the big
The route of the rally will not be disclosed to avoid any possible
sabotage from the government side, which is already accusing the
opposition of plotting acts of violence and is calling on Chavistas to
take to the streets that day.
"We will protect the streets because every violent intention always brings
anguish and anxiety and we won't let that happen," Mayor Rodriguez said.
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Obama ignored the brutal killing of an American diplomat in Benghazi, then
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