Yesterday’s form of protest saw mixed results. In the morning, some avenues of Caracas were almost empty, but after the day progressed things started to go to normal. In my city, Puerto Ordaz, the effect was minimal. You could see some businesses closed but that’s about it.

The companies that are struggling to meet the government’s crazy demands (most recently, another minimum wage raise) had to stop producing for one day to support the opposition. What a crazy economy, no wonder we don’t attract any foreign investment.

That’s probably why this strike was targeted at citizens, and not the companies itself, but the effect was almost the same. Some people just cannot afford to miss a day of work, and no amount of political rhetoric will change that. Yes, Guanipa, we know these are the labor pains before the childbirth of the new Venezuela (ugh), still people won’t starve if they don’t have to.

To make things even worse, for some, yesterday was payday, so even those that could afford to strike didn’t have the incentives to do so. Some others worked from home so they could reduce the losses. A friend of mine wanted to strike, but after the recent mandatory minimum wage raise, she’s afraid the company will have to lay her off. To diminish that possibility, she tries to be the best at her job so…ni de vaina is she missing a day of work.

Even if the plan was weak from the beginning, it certainly did not stop government auditors from making do on their promises to harass and intimidate businesses throughout the day. We received several reports of offices being visited by Superintendencia de Precios Justos officers (check out the website, its positively soviet), who would demand to know how many employees were on payroll and how many had showed up to work.

This little rat of a journalist helpfully covered the proceedings. Feel free to troll her.

The MUD is talking about 50% compliance and calling the strike a success. Was it? It doesn’t feel like it, but I don’t see any way this could’ve be done better. This form of protest can only work so much in our current situation, even if the execution is great. Pictures of hundreds of thousands on the street are much sexier than…pictures of people at home not working.

And at least it kind of helped to keep some of the momentum from the previous marches going. Let’s see how this thing escalates until November 3rd.

6 COMMENTS

  1. In his bizarre comment about viagara yesterday, Maduro gave a list of sectors that did not strike. It was a remarkable comment because it was the keys to the kingdom: those are the sectors that, if they struck, would seriously imperil this regime. I can’t find the quote now, but I hope it comes back to haunt him.

    • Here’s the keys to the kingdom, from the mouth of an idiot no less:

      “Hoy ha fracasado de nuevo la oligarquía, ha triunfado la paz (…) La MUD necesita un poquito de viagra para ver si para algo en el país”, dijo durante una movilización del sector educación que llegó al Palacio de Miraflores.

      El mandatario nacional refirió que el país no está en condiciones para parar de trabajar. Ante esto, agradeció a los venezolanos que no se sumaron a la convocatoria.

      “El paro convocado por la oposición fue un fracaso, triunfó Venezuela. Sector por sector lo puedo decir. Sector petrolero, instituciones bancarias, trabajadores eléctricos de las telecomunicaciones, transporte público, nada se paró”, affirmo.

      I would venture that a relatively small number of container truck drivers or dock workers could do the job as well.

    • It will take more than the closing of retail businesses and small private services to threaten the regime. Maduro actually listed some of the key areas that would seriously worry him (above). It is heartening that the idea has been planted, and widely accepted. Success will be signs that yesterday’s actions spread and escalate, particularly to these key sectors. The minimum wage hike, timed with the protest and strike call, was also a sign that the regime is taking this seriously and is worried.

  2. So there are many different metrics you can use to judge all of these actions. I don’t think measuring how many people stayed home or business shut down is the best. The government spent all of its energy and hegemonic state media to prove that the strike was not successful. They looked ridiculous trying to show that people were working by having them stand for hours in front of the cameras chanting in front of their workplaces. The opposition is on over-drive hitting them from all different angles. I might not personally think drumming up birther issue is the best course of action, for example, but yesterday the TSJ responded with more ridiculousness. Every action from the opposition requires a reaction from the government.

  3. this whole paro idea was something to keep people from lynching our leaders back there in the autopista. Strikes only work if the person you are striking agaisnt gives a fuck about losses.

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