On Saturday, Venezuela’s opposition party, Unidad Democratica [official website], made a call [press release, in Spanish] for a 48-hour general strike to be held next Wednesday and Thursday. The strike [Bloomberg report] comes in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s call to rewrite the country’s constitution and to elect a new assembly next week. The opposition party had organized [Reuters report] a separate 24-hour strike earlier this week that involved millions of participants. There are also plans for marches to be held on Monday and Friday. Maduro has accused the opposition party of plotting a coup. The Constituent Assembly has called the election necessary to bring peace to Venezuela.
A non-binding referendum vote [JURIST report] was held in Venezuela earlier this month in regards to the proposed new constitution which showed that 98% of the voters rejected the new constitution. The vote was boycotted by many government supporters. Venezuela has faced significant political unrest since the opposition gained control of the National Assembly in December 2015. In May the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions [JURIST report] against Venezuelan Supreme Court justices for usurping democracy. In October the National Assembly voted to open criminal impeachment [JURIST report] proceedings against Maduro, alleging that he manipulated the constitution to remain in power. That same month the Assembly also declared [JURIST report] that there was a breakdown of constitutional order and that the government had staged a coup by blocking an attempt to remove Maduro from power. Instability peaked on March 30 when the Supreme Court of Venezuela dissolved [JURIST report] the opposition-controlled National Assembly and assumed all legislative powers.