It’s been over two months and Venezuelans haven’t given up on the toilet paper revolution.
Following fresh clashes in the country’s capital on Easter, dozens of student organizers met in Caracas this week to coordinate the next wave of protests.
Food shortages and high consumer prices have been the driving force behind the opposition protests. On Thursday, the Central Bank said food prices rose 6.1 percent since its last report in February, and economists say the inflation is running at an annual rate of nearly 60 percent.
Since the protests against the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro first broke out in February, at least 41 people have been killed, and more than 500 have been injured.
During peace talks held April 10, Maduro said, “All countries have economic problems. We should take on our problems and rise above them. I’m sure that when we overcome the inflation and shortage issue, we will deal with other economic problems and other social issues in the future.”
The meeting with opposition leaders comes after months of censoring broadcasts and news accounts of the protests.
On Friday Venezuela’s Supreme Court issued a ruling which said that staging protests without prior authorization from local officials is illegal. The ruling, which was met with rebuke by opposition leaders, also said that protesters who stage street demonstrations without a permit, are liable to arrest.
However, Maduro agreed to televising the series of negotiations with opposition leaders. The peace talks have come with mixed responses.
“How can you ask for respect, if you are disrespectful?” asked opposition leader Henrique Capriles. “How can you ask the country to accept you if you call them fascists and threaten them? They will not respect you.”
Credit: Evelyn Baker, Veronica Bautista