Thousands march against Maduro government in Venezuela as crisis deepens

Opposition parties called for a nationwide protest Monday against Venezuela’s socialist government but attracted only several thousand people, in a sign of the difficulties the regime’s opponents are facing in building a strong protest movement even as the nation descends into crisis.

In September, about a million people turned out for a march to promote a vote to recall President Nicolás Maduro, but election officials later ruled out holding such a referendum in 2016.

“We’ve not achieved anything, and people are demotivated,” a marcher said, admitting that she was frustrated by the limited progress that the opposition have made. “I have faith that with Trump [in power] things might change,” she added, referring to the new U.S. president, who has been critical of Maduro’s government.

About 80 percent of the population views the government negatively, according to opinion polls. But some people are reluctant to join public protests, especially after authorities jailed several opposition politicians earlier this month.

“Motivation has decreased because the opposition doesn’t have a common aim or strength and citizens are frustrated and scared,” said Luis Vicente Leon, the president of Datanalisis, a respected polling firm, clarifying that the low turnout “did not reflect” a lack of desire for an alternative to Maduro.

The protest was scheduled for the day that marks the fall of dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1958 amid a popular rebellion and revolt by the navy.

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