Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Venezuela's Maduro hikes minimum wage amid rising protests

Venezuela's Maduro hikes minimum wage amid rising protests

An opponent to President Nicolas Maduro holds a sign that reads in Spanish "Maduro dictator", referring to President Nicolas Maduro, at an opposition May Day march in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 1, 2017.

Venezuela's current constitution permits the president to establish such a body.

While Maduro provided few details, he said that the new body would contain "some 500 constituents", who will be elected during a "direct and secret" vote.

"We're ready to take the streets for a month or however long is needed for this government to understand that it must go", said Sergio Hernandez, a computer technology worker.

The government party controls 20 states, but polls indicate the opposition would now win a majority of the states, given voter anger over the OPEC nation's brutal recession.

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Pope Francis has offered to mediate between the Maduro government and its opponents, but the opposition has rejected the overture.

Jose Andres Rauseo, 66, a lawyer from the largely anti-government Bello Monte area, said clashes erupted there, with tear gas and national guard troops blocking the way. That could distract them from the drumbeat of near daily street protests that they have managed to keep up for weeks.

According to constitutional expert Hernan Escarra, while the constituent process is underway, the country's current political institutions would continue operating. Maduro's allies now govern in 20 of Venezuela's 23 states but polls indicate the opposition would likely win the next election after it took control of congress in December 2015 by a landslide. It was move that kept him in power for another 14 years.

The country has descended into chaos after years of food shortages and economic turmoil under embattled President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Maduro says all are behind bars for legitimate crimes, and calls Lopez, 45, a violent hothead intent on promoting a coup.

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The opposition is rallying supporters from 26 points across Caracas on a hot, rainy day in a effort promoted on social media with the hashtag "the people rebel against the coup".

On Monday, opposition Governor Henrique Capriles said in posts on his Twitter account that the opposition would alert democratic governments around the world about what he called a “constitutional fraud” and called for new street protests and civil disobedience. He called it a fraud.

Political analyst Nicmer Evans said that with his new proposal Maduro is "playing for time at all cost, in order to stay in power". President Nicolas Maduro will speak at a pro-government march there, and he has promised major announcements this afternoon.

"This is a scam to deceive the Venezuelan people with a mechanism that is nothing more than a coup", Borges claimed. Venezuelans are taking to the streets in dueling anti- and pro-government May Day demonstrations as an intensifying protest movement enters its second month.

Clashes between protesters and riot police left 28 people dead last month, according to prosecutors. "If not, there are problems", a 34 year-old employee with a state aluminium company, just off a busafter an all-night journey from southern Ciudad Bolivar, told a journalist until a supervisor cut off the conversation.

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