National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara called on Venezuelans today to prepare to boycott the Constituent Assembly election, which is scheduled for next Sunday, in the event that the Maduro regime does not yield to pressure and decides to carry it out.

Calling the following week “the defining hours for the future of the country”, Guevara said that Venezuelans had to continue to act with courage and determination in the face of a dictatorship that is increasingly desperate to hold on to power.

In the event that the Constituent Assembly election does take place on Sunday, Guevara said:

The people of Venezuela have to carry out a general strike. They have to come to Caracas and get ready for a civil-electoral boycott if this dictatorship does not decide to postpone [or] suspend that project to annihilate the Republic through this fraud [the Constituent Assembly].

If the July 30 election takes place, it will begin the work of re-writing the national constitution next week.

Guevara also spoke on the 48-hour general strike scheduled to start this Wednesday. In order to participate in the strike, Guevara said, Venezuelans should either stay home for two days starting at 6:00 AM on Wednesday, or they should go out to protest against he Maduro regime.

Friday’s March Destination is “Where You Think It Is”

During the same press conference, Guevara dropped a cryptic hint about the destination of a massive mobilization scheduled for Friday in Caracas.

The protest, which is called La Gran Toma de Caracas [The Great Takeover of Caracas], has taken place before. The opposition has scheduled a couple of Gran Toma protests before in Caracas, and they have all been among the largest demonstrations in Venezuelan history.

The protests typically take place in the western side of Caracas, usually around the areas of Altamira, Chacao, and Las Mercedes.

Quite deliberately, the destination of opposition marches have typically never been the Miraflores Palace in western Caracas. This is because the Miraflores Palace is the symbolic seat of power in the county, and a march to Miraflores is widely understood to be a direct attack on the office of the president.

During today’s press conference, Guevara spoke on the destination for Friday’s march. Without providing any details, Guevara said:

[The destination] is where you think it is.

Guevara also said that the destination for the march would be named closer to Friday.

300 Workers’ Unions to Join 48-Hour Strike

Ivan Freites, the spokesperson for the country’s oil workers, announced today that approximately 300 unions had agreed to join the 48-hour general strike convened by the opposition for Wednesday. Freites also said that the unions had agreed to remain on strike “until a new unit government came [to power]”, suggesting that while the unions will commence their strike on Wednesday at 6:00 AM, they would continue with the action indefinitely.

Alberto Maldonando, the head of Tachira State Workers’ Federation, said that “the cheapest thing in Venezuela is a worker’s salary”, in reference to the meager earnings of the average Venezuelan workers. At the black market rate (Bs. 8,790.84/USD), a Venezuelan worker earning the minimum salary earns $11.09 US a month.

Maldonado also said:

Holding general elections is [the only way forward].

Maduro Pleads for Constituent Assembly in Televised Show

Maduro made a plea for the Constituent Assembly on Mario Silva’s La Hojilla television show, a program that is popular with the most hard-line of PSUV supporters. While it is not unusual for Maduro to briefly call in to the show, it is not often that he appears on the program in person.

During the show, Maduro called on listeners to ensure that they participated in the July 30 vote for the Constituent Assembly, and called the PSUV’s heavy presence in many communities around the country “the revolution’s extra strength”.

Maduro also delivered a plea on behalf of the Constituent Assembly. Attempting to set aside the widespread understanding that he will use the Constituent Assembly to cement his own personal power atop Venezuela’s political structure, Maduro said:

When I ask for your vote of confidence, I ask it for the Constituent [Assembly]. This is for the country and for peace. Let me make peace. Let me support you in peace, but let us do it together. I’m not asking you to vote for a person; I’m asking you to vote for a vision of the country, for a project for the country. I’m asking for your vote and for your participation in democracy in order to solve this situation with votes and not with bullets. I’m asking you to vote for peace.

La Hojilla is hosted by Mario Silva, an infamous PSUV supporter who has often made headlines for his violent vitrol against opposition supporters. Silva, who is himself running for the Constituent Assembly, appeared in a video published earlier this month in which he was asked what his proposals for the Constituent Assembly would be.

Silva replied by saying:

To beat the shit out of all those motherfuckers [the opposition] and to start throwing people in jail in this shit. Yeah, put this on Instagram so they’ll see. [We should] put all those bums in jail.

Maduro Announces Free Pubic Transit on July 30

Speaking during his weekly television show earlier today, Maduro announced that all public transportation in the country would be free on July 30 in order to facilitate the movement of people to voting centres for the Constituent Assembly election.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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