Photo: José Díaz

On social networks and WhatsApp groups, the call was a total success, but reality was more complicated. Since it was called by political parties and business sectors, and it originated in grassroot community leaders (not supported by Fedecámaras), the strike was one of conscience rather than action.

Even though there are plenty of reasons to protest against the regime, Fedecámaras actually chose to step aside, respecting the decision of each business owner while putting the strike’s responsibility on the weakest link: the worker.

Photo: José Díaz

A strike for every taste

In the wee hours of Tuesday, August 21, a day after the monetary reconversion, the mood was dazed and confused.

“I thought the call was just rolling on social networks,” said Héctor Lozano, who works in a laboratory. “Political parties were both in and out and then Fedecámaras stepped aside. That’s why I went to work, but I didn’t find any transport. I’m going back home.”

The strike was more solid toward the eastern side of the city, where only a few big-chain stores opened their doors.

Photo: José Díaz

Small stores along Francisco de Miranda Avenue, Bello Monte, Altamira and Chacao stood out with their santamarías closed, and they’ve been that way for three days in a row. “Strike or no strike, we can’t open,” said Carlos Subero, shop owner, “we’re counting cash and we want to see how the economy behaves. There’s no trust in the measures. Besides, we have to wait for the new list of prices they’ll announce today.”

Photo: José Díaz

At noon, Andrés Velázquez, former Bolívar State governor, leader of Causa R and spokesman for Frente Amplio, gave a partial report: 60% of the population complied with the strike.

His speech also came with phrases like “the best economic measure is removing Nicolás Maduro,” saying that these gradual strikes will end in a general strike, a proposal he’s been making for months.

And while eastern Caraqueños carried out their peaceful protest, the west played a different tune.

60% of the population complied with the strike.

Parishes like Coche, El Valle, San Pedro, San Juan, Santa Rosalía and El Paraíso were desolate. The lack of public transport was key and street hawkers wasted no time to set up shop.

“I went out to get some cash and when I saw people selling goods, I took the chance,” said Luis Bolívar. “I couldn’t find any transport, some stores were closed and there were lots of people walking. I see a partial strike.”}

Photo: José Díaz

Catia, however, was unaffected. Although the municipal market was closed, streets were full of hawkers and people squeezing through each other, looking for cheap vegetables.

Nevertheless, the absence of vehicles throughout main avenues and freeways was general and extensive. Public transport was diminished but this isn’t new, since the automotive fleet is already below minimum service standards (less than 15% of the over 25,000 buses that used to circulate in Caracas).

Bus drivers were unsure about how much to charge. Those who made their rounds left the fare at Bs.F 10,000.

What happens after the strike?

Despite the failures of previous demonstrations, citizens once again pin their hopes on street actions. However, they wonder what’s next.

Margarita López Maya, teacher, historian and political analyst, shared her assessment on her Twitter account, emphasizing that “the situation is favourable to form a political leadership that includes political figures, business owners, union leaders, politicians, universities, business sectors, the church. We urgently need an alternative to the government plan and leaders with a vocation to rule.”

the situation is favourable to form a political leadership that includes political figures, business owners, union leaders, politicians, universities, business sectors, the church…

And I saw that need plainly in the streets of Caracas: the strike had no coordination or leadership. Caraqueños, still reeling from the measures announced on August 17 and confused about Monday’s reconversion, wanted this Tuesday to be significant, but the day had many readings. It’s useless to say that the strike succeeded by 60% in Caracas, 90% in Lara, 70% in Bolívar, 95% in Carabobo and that streets looked deserted in Zulia, Falcón, Cojedes and Anzoátegui, if there’s no strategy to harness the dissatisfaction and bring about the political change most Venezuelans demand.

“Everything is collapsed,” said Julio César Reyes, community leader who supported this Tuesday’s strike. “Sometimes, I don’t leave home because I don’t have money, and when I do, there’s no transport. When I arrive home, there’s no water, sometimes there’s no electricity either. This strike wasn’t just about the reconversion, I joined because we don’t want to starve to death anymore, because we want good hospitals and schools and because I don’t want to leave my country.”

 

Photo: José Díaz
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48 COMMENTS

  1. Mabel, unfortunately, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the “General Strike”. On the customer side–no public transport, no cash money, no employment for many with stores closed, little/no basic staples available like rice/meat/etc. on sale awaiting new Govt. pricing; on the business side–most businesses closed: calculating personnel layoffs/possible closing for good; hiding inventory to sell at higher prices later; re-marking inventory with new BS price; etc.

  2. “Bus drivers were unsure about how much to charge. Those who made their rounds left the fare at Bs.F 10,000.”

    I don’t understand how the drivers will make change:

    So you can pay your fare of 10,000 with Strong B’s, but if you use one Sovereign B, that requires 90,000 String B’s in change, right?

    And these will have to be taken out of circulation in increments anyway, leaving the question, are they manufacturing COINS, which is impossible because of the cost of the metals, or are they printing fractional paper bills, which is economically unfeasible as well?

    I guess the answer is that the cost of everything goes up to a minimal 1 Sovereign B, which means in a month, that will be 10,000 Sovereigns.

  3. Striking is stupid. Venezuelans would be better off destroying and ransacking any and all government institution! Start eroding all the controls of the Venezuelan government. Kill every bureaucrat, burn down the ministries and the post offices and police stations. Drag every Maduro crony into the streets and kick their heads in lop them off and stake them to fence posts. Go to the offices of the United Socialist Party and destroy it. Do whatever they can to eliminate this regime. Loot some guns and go into the slums and rout out the Maduro voters. Playing nice and peacefully doesn’t work.

      • A war of the rebellion is not a plan but a strategy for survival and long term insurance that it’ll never happen again.

        However so be it, Venezuelans are morons for A. voting this horrendous regime and B. allowing it to continue. I guess you can starve until you’re to weak to fight.

        • The ONLY way that Chavismo will end is if the die hard Chavez voters

          A. Suffer enough. Squalor. Disease. Starvation. Death, and
          B. The despised Middle Class and Rich suffer more.

          There isn’t a satisfactory English or Spanish word for the German loan word Schadenfreude. In Venezuela, El Pueblo, they don’t care how bad they have it… they want to be assured that the person who has a farthing more wealth than them has it worse. (We have people like that in the United States… we call them Democrats)

          I don’t see an exit. I sense that El Pueblo is perfectly willing to spiral down the shitter and not lift a finger… in the hopes that their God Chavez is reincarnated and brings back the “good old days”. Because what El Pueblo wants isn’t an end to Chavismo. They want its glorious rebirth. They think that Maduro is doing Chavismo wrong, and they want someone else to do it right… which is what the Venezuela opposition thinks it can do better than Maduro.

      • The pueblo loves anything free…or the promise of free……..they dont like risk of any kind….they are lazy..untrustworthy fools…..they will jump to the next free ride as easy as the first…..then wait for the next……and cry and complain……but sit on their fat arepa filled asses….to Paul*…you cannot kill them all.

      • No, it’s not “el pueblo loves chabizmo”, the people HATES chabizmo, but in the same vein, thet HATE the prospect of getting a BULLET IN THE FOREHEAD FOR PROTESTING.

    • Paul,
      An uprising without any credible opposition leadership, clear aims or direction will lead to death and destruction, an excuse for more brutal repression and not much else. It is unlikely to create a power vacuum as long as the regime maintains control of the only coherent forces. In the unlikely event that it did create a power vacuum, the chances are that it will be filled by someone who is already an integral part of the present regime, probably FANB or a puppet supported by the military. Tout ca change…

      The Zombie apocalypse that some are waiting for cannot on its own produce any sort of solution. There has to be a coherent, credible opposition to the present regime – disciplined, organised and largely clandestine – for any hope of beneficial regime change. You won’t find this opposition in the MUD, nor in Soldados de Franelas to judge from their performance to date.

      • citizen mobs turn into Rebel militias and then turn into organized armies and power structures emerge. It’s human nature and people figure it out. To get rid of a government you have to kill every tendril.

        MUD is a bunch of communists who are not part of Chavismo. Not even worth anyone’s time as an opposition.

      • Hey buddy the killing fields are the next phase of Chavismo. Maduro is going to out and out take people to the jungle and kill them and push their bodies into mass graves with whatever remaining bulldozers they have left.

        The fall of Phom Phen would have been different if people actually stood up for themselves their homes and property instead of marching into the god damned Jungle like bleating sheep.

        • “Kill every bureaucrat” – 2.8 million people
          “Loot some guns and go into the slums and rout out the Maduro voters” – Another 5 million at least
          How much blood do you need man? The Khmer Rouge with their death toll of 2.5 million would look like innocent babies next to you.
          Nietzsche: ““Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

        • “Hey buddy the killing fields are the next phase of Chavismo. ”

          Didn’t you get the memo, there are already half a million kills by chabizmo, and how many already this year? 15.000? 25.000? We can easily expect to have at least 50.000 more dead by this year’s end.

          “…rout out the Maduro voters” – Another 5 million at least…”

          Correction, another 100.000, which are mostly malandro garbage.

  4. It can’t be a one time thing. It will fail epicly.

    1. The owners need to shutter indefinitely.
    2. All employees fired.
    3. If SUNDDE forces a store open, they should find it empty. All equipment inoperable.

    That will get The Revolution’s attention. And El Pueblo’s

    • El Guapo, obviously you are better in touch with what is really going on here. Only once the escualidos have to eat shit, more shit and even more shit, they will start looting their own barrios. Once that happens, then it is the moment for the middle classes to go to the streets and finally take down this evil regime. But the zombie apocalypse has to happen first and we cannot act until this happens. We are heading down this path right now. Once 90% of the private sector closes shop and just does biz behind closed doors, all the comemierdas who live day to day will not have any food to buy when their clap does not come.

      Patience. The Day of justice will come. For the middle classes, for the poor people who want progress, and who are prepared, we will survive the zombie apocalypse and finally it will be time to take the streets.

      Cant do shit when all the attention is on crushing middle class protests. Need the barrio people to rise up when there is nothing more to buy…which will happen once you crush the private sector, when there is no production in venezuela (we have already reached that point), and the people have finally have had enough.

      What we we need now is not more negative energy. What we need is fe (faith) and the fact that we know what will eventually happen (a zombie apocalypse/armageddeon and good will win over evil), because maduros economic package will do nothing to solve this nations economic problems and make the poor poorer than ever.

      If you live in Venezuela, time to prepare. Armchair quarteracks from abroad: you dont know shit!!! And also, if you are actually talking about a revolution, you cannot have a revoultion without faith. What we need more than ever is faith because most everybody is walking around like zombies now.

      • You don’t have the fucking right to call us armchair quarterbacks from abroad.

        Those of us who have followed this nightmare from 1999, and have family there.

        Go fuck yourself, and don’t tell us we don’t know SHIT!?

        Assholes like you should maybe listen to us more and fix your own goddamn problems, instead of whining and claiming that WE don’t know shit.

        When the evidence clearly points to the fact that you don’t.

        • so you are an armchair quarterback from abroad who has been following the news since 1999 and who has family in Venezuela? OK, that is VERY different from a quarterback from abroad not following the news and withojt relatives

      • guacharaca,
        “And also, if you are actually talking about a revolution, you cannot have a revoultion without faith.”
        Street riots and mayhem may weaken a regime, but it cannot lead to any beneficial change of regime without direction and planning, not when the only coherent well-armed group is in active complicit support of the regime. When the smoke and the dust clears from the air, there is absolutely no guarantee that you will like what you see. Faith is not enough. See my response to Paul above.

      • “…you cannot have a revoultion without faith.”

        Yet you have so much “faith” in venezuelans that you constantly call ALL of them “pieces of shit that deserve chabizmo” or braying “Venezuela is lost forever”

        Dude, have some coherence, or better, stop being such an “empantuflao”

  5. For all practical purposes, the strike continues here. I left the house around 11 to buy yuca and monte for today’s soup. Zilch. I found only two places open and they were as pelado as my head. For the soup, we ended up adding okra, green beans, and cilantro out of the garden instead.

    Haven’t seen the first new bill yet either.

  6. Had a good laugh today when my woman showed me a new skit by Er Conde del Guachero. He was giving a speech and suddenly heard noise overhead. After an explosion, his body guards ran out and covered him with Clap boxes as he made his escape. LOL

  7. But as far as commenting on this article: THE FEDECAMERAS ARE ENCHUFADO COCK SUCKERS WHO HAVE SOLD OUT VENEZUELA. I have had one try to double cross me, but I did not fall for it. I want to kick his fucking ass and hope he rots in hell. They are worthless pieces of shit!!!! Fedecameras=MUD=HRAllup=Vendepatrias Same F%$ing Shit

    • While I agree with your sentiment in a previous comment in respect of armchair revolutionaries abroad, I disagree with your sentiment here. The sort of cynicism you evince in respect of MUD is EXACTLY the sort of cynicism that brought about Chavez and ended the 4th Republic. Back then everyone was cynical about AD and Copei exactly in the same way that you about the MUD. To hear people back then, politicians were ALL corrupt, they were ALL incompetent. That cynicism took hold of the middle class and even of the upper classes and the intelligentsia (I remember, the amos del valle falling all over themselves flying Chavez to campaign stops on their private planes, El Nacional endorsing Chavez). At the end, it was the middle class who elected Chavez and made him possible. Always, everywhere, it is the middle class who makes revolutions.
      Like it or not, the MUD (I know it’s called differently now, but I’ll use MUD) is the only credible, structured opposition we have. These are people who are risking their lives and liberty, and diligently working day in and day out to bring about change in Venezuela. Some of them may be corrupt, some of them may be incompetent, and some of them may make colossal errors of judgement from time to time. However, most are good, honest people who are jugándose el pellejo here. A genocide like the one advocated by Paul will not solve anything. The only viable solution is a structured, organized, disciplined, and yes, political solution. Every revolution needs a critical mass of sectors (e.g. private industry, military, students) to reach consensus on the need and manner of change. The essential work of the MUD is creating such consensus for a revolution that will topple the Chavista regime. Their effectiveness is weakened as it loses adherents.
      If you don’t like what the MUD is doing, then join it, do the work, participate in it and effect change there. Otherwise, your cynicism will only end up destroying it for good along with every other institution in Venezuela, leaving the door open to another tinpot dictator to take over the country and continue ravaging it and destroying it.

      • ** “…cynicism you evince in respect of MUD is EXACTLY the sort of cynicism that brought about Chavez and ended the 4th Republic…”

        No, the MUD are a bunch of paid minions of chabizmo that have the explicit mission of wasting the people’s time so the regime can keep stealing, destroying and killing, they NEVER intended to oust the regime because they’re PAID for that.

        ** “That cynicism took hold of the middle class and even of the upper classes and the intelligentsia (I remember, the amos del valle falling all over themselves flying Chavez to campaign stops on their private planes, El Nacional endorsing Chavez).”

        ** “it was the middle class who elected Chavez and made him possible”

        Again with the “everything is the middle class’s fault, thus the middle class deserves chabizmo” bullshit.

        First, less people than voted for Lushinchi voted for the podrío, most of them from “popular class”, not middle class, which almost all voted for Salas Römer or the other candidates, because middle classers were the ones that actually knew what the podrío was: A murderous traitor.

        Second, the “upper class amos del valle” WERE NOT DECEIVED IN ANY WAY BY CHÁVEZ, they knew EXACTLY what was their DEAL: “LET US TO CONTINUE BEING PARASITES OF THE OIL RENT AND YOU CAN STEAL AS MUCH AS YOU WANT TOO, CHAVEZ”, to which the podrío said “okay!”, they were COLLUDED TO DESTROY AND PLUNDER THE COUNTRY from day one, and it went MARVELOUSLY WELL for the “amos del valle”, OR HOW IS IT THAT GUSTAVO CISNEROS IS SO STUPIDLY MUCH RICHER TODAY THAN HE EVER WAS IN THE 4TH?

        ** “Like it or not, the MUD (I know it’s called differently now, but I’ll use MUD) is the only credible, structured opposition we have.”

        No, they’re still the same PAID garbage that works to UNDERMINE EVERY MOVEMENT that can disrupt the chavizta regime, ALL OF THEM.

        ** ” These are people who are risking their lives and liberty…”

        Neither chapriles nor HRA, while JB is living abroad from who-knows-what funding.

        ** “…some of them may be incompetent, and some of them may make colossal errors of judgement from time to time…”

        No, they have done it DELIBERATELY, because that has been their WORK from day one, that the people NEVER DOES ANYTHING THAT CAN PUT THE REGIME INTO AN ACTUAL RISK.

        ** “. A genocide like the one advocated by Paul will not solve anything”

        Yet you advocate to continue the genocide that’s orchestrated and directed by the cuban invaders, which has a kill count of over 500.000 and 5 million displaced so far.

        ** ” Every revolution needs a critical mass of sectors (e.g. private industry, military, students) to reach consensus…”

        No, every revolution needs a DIRECTION that manages the movement, the “mass sectors” in Venezuela will CHERISH AS A HERO at ANYONE who finishes the chabizta rule AND HAS the gonads to deal with the consequences (THE CHABIZTA REVENGE)

        ** “…The essential work of the MUD is …”

        …Is to keep people busy and wasting their time in useless measures like the “work hours strike” and the “bailoterapias” that do ZERO to affect the regime in any way, because those are the ALLOWED ways to “express the hezkuaka discomfort”

        ** “…, leaving the door open to another tinpot dictator to take over the country and continue ravaging it and destroying it.”

        Which would in the first place be simply another chabizta, because the chabizmo would have never been removed in the first place.

        The only dictator that would last in Venezuela in the post-chabizta era will be one that does EVERY OPPOSITE thing that chabizmo has done since day one.

        • The MUD has had democratic mechanisms for the base to provide feedback and ascend through the ranks. I believe that if the people had been unwavering in their support of the MUD despite the MUD’s mistakes; i.e., if there was an organized, united and strong opposition, some sectors of the military would have flipped already and we would be rid of the Chavistas by now.

  8. Strikes are intended to disrupt, but the government has caused so much public disruption itself that it is hard to notice the marginal additional disruption of the general strike. It seems to me that calling the strike to coincide with the currency revaluation was a tactical mistake.

  9. Dolartoday is showing the exchange @ 71 to the Dollar. Monday the exchange began at 59.
    The Version 3.0 Bolivar has lost 20% of its value in 2 days.
    I have no idea what 10% inflation per day works out to annually. My daughter’s boyfriend has a PhD in mathematics. I plan to ask him.
    The 5 zeros will be returning much quicker than the regime thinks.

    • ((1 + 0.10)^365 – 1) x 100%

      That’s 1.28 x 10^17 %, or 128 quadrillion%, give or take. To be fair, it’s been what, four days? (MTWTh). With only approx. 5% daily devaluation the annual rate would be

      ((1 + 0.05)^365 – 1) x 100%

      only 54.2 x 10^9 %, or 5.42 billion%.

      • The regime is going to need larger bills just to have room for all of the zeros.
        I found a site that compounds interest.
        I entered it at 10% yearly for 365 years. I was trying to replicate 10% daily for one year.
        The number was so large that I thought it couldn’t be correct. I guess it was.
        This is so insane. As the regime continues to create money, the rate is going to increase. I would also think that the supply / demand equation of ever shrinking supply of goods will also impact inflation.
        Any way that you look at this, the future holds more misery and death.

        • There’s been plenty of misery and death already.

          500.000 kills so far.

          5 million displaced.

          Not even the bombings in Syria have caused so much destruction.

          • I guess if there were bombs going off and exchanges of gunfire the world’s media would take interest.
            As long as people quietly starve or die from lack of medicine the media isn’t as interested.
            The BBC did a good feature this week on their world news that goes to many US PBS stations. Compared to other catastrophes that have continual coverage, the Venezuelan crisis is not in the forefront.

  10. In another silly attempt to fix an exchange rate at a certain value, the bumbling Chavista’s reckoned they could fix “fair” prices as well, prices that are affordable for the first few days after the giant devaluation. But as the shitcanned currency continues to tank – seeming that it’s back by no real, in-the-hand assets – the aforementioned “fair prices” will rapidly soar out of reach as by month’s end, an arrepa con cafe maron will cost five minimum wages.

    Question: What, exactly, or so far as anyone can tell, is the status per how much food and medicine is currently being imported? Isn’t there some way to track ships movements and so forth? Maduro has been redced to begging at this point, but who is delivering what, and how mch, and were?

    • Juan
      I wonder how much is coming in from Brazil and Columbia that is imported by individual entrepreneurs.
      The remittances sent to individuals could be bypassing the government completely and facilitating these imports.
      Dollars would be the currency of choice compared to a constantly devaluing Bolivar.

    • Imports are mainly monopolized by the enchufados, who charge whatever the fuck they want for the stuff since normal folks are forbidden from importing basic-need products, which are also stolen by the customs’ employees (hardcore chabizticas) if anyone dares to bring them through courier companies.

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