Capriles Blasts MUD for Refusing to Back Fresh Anti-Government Protests

Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles lashed out at fellow leaders of the right-wing opposition coalition Tuesday after the latter failed to back calls for renewed anti-government protests this week.

By Lucas Koerner
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Venezuelan opposition leader and Governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, Venezuela May 26, 2016. (REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS)
Venezuelan opposition leader and Governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, Venezuela May 26, 2016. (REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS)

Caracas, June 2, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles lashed out at fellow leaders of the right-wing opposition coalition, the MUD, on Tuesday after the latter failed to back calls for renewed anti-government protests this week.

Speaking on his weekly internet program, the two-time opposition presidential candidate criticized the MUD for holding a meeting with the National Electoral Council (CNE) on Wednesday to discuss a timetable for a recall referendum in lieu of convening further street demonstrations.

“I had talked about protests [this week] and the mobilization is not going to go forward tomorrow [Wednesday]…[T]he people expect more of us…We have to measure up to what the country is going through…I think we can do more,” he stated.

The MUD has not issued further calls for protests since an unauthorized march to CNE offices on May 18, which saw anti-government demonstrators attack police and vandalize government student housing in Caracas.

The controversial incident moved the Supreme Court (TSJ) to issue an injunction against demonstrations in the vicinity of CNE offices at the behest of electoral personnel over security concerns.

The opposition coalition has in recent weeks softened its stance, participating in UNASUR-mediated indirect talks with the Maduro government last week and sending a parliamentary delegation to meet with CNE Rector Luis Emilio Rondon on Wednesday.

Capriles has, for his part, stepped up calls for street pressure on the CNE aimed at securing a date for the recall referendum.

Last week, he unilaterally led a fresh round of protests in the wealthy eastern Caracas municipality of Chacao despite low turnout due to lack of MUD backing.

Following the opposition coalition’s latest refusal to convene protests this week, Capriles took aim at MUD General Secretary Jesus “Chuo” Torrealba, suggesting that the coalition needed a leader who was “more than a news commentator”.

The Miranda governor has hardened his rhetoric over the past month, issuing a public message to the Bolivarian Armed Forces exhorting them to “prepare the tanks and warplanes” and decide if they are “with the constitution or with Maduro”.

Capriles has, however, come under fire from Julio “Coco” Jimenez of Leopoldo Lopez’s far right Popular Will party who ridiculed the ex-presidential candidate’s calls to escalate protests, branding him a “coward, bastard, and clown” for halting 2013’s violent post-election demonstrations which allegedly “could have ended with a change of president”.

Following his loss to Nicolas Maduro in the April 2013 presidential election, Capriles urged his supporters to “vent your anger” in the streets, sparking a wave of right-wing violence that left 7 dead and 61 injured before the demonstrations were called off.