Thousands of public workers from different unions returned to the streets throughout Venezuela to demand better salaries and working conditions of Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
By La Patilla
Jan 23, 2023
The morning of this January 23rd, workers and trade unions gathered in the “Plaza del Rectorado” (Rector’s Square) of the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas to start a march towards the headquarters of the Public Ministry (General Attorney’s Office), located in the center of the city.
Educational, health, and even student sectors were part of the mobilization that marched through Plaza Venezuela to the government entity today managed by Chavismo.
The Rector of the Central University of Venezuela, Cecilia García Arocha, also joined the struggle of teachers and workers to demand salary improvements.
During the protest, banners were seen and chants were heard referring to the salary crisis that plagues workers and also retirees from different labor sectors.
In March 2022, Maduro set the minimum wage at 130 bolivars, which at the time was equivalent to about $30. Now, due to unstoppable inflation, that “improvement” has been reduced to just over $6 (U.S. dollars) today.
During the morning of this Monday, Fedecámaras (Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce), the main private employer in Venezuela, reiterated the urgent need to open a discussion on the minimum wage, “where all the actors involved participate, thus allowing the decision adopted by the national government to respond to the needs of workers and employers as a product of a dialogue.’
Through a press release, it added that the main economic problem in Venezuela is the “insufficient income of Venezuelan workers and families.”
“The adoption of a decision on the salary issue cannot be postponed, not in isolation, but as a salary policy that gives salary sustainability and maintains its purchasing power and, at the same time, allows the sustainability of sources of employment,” the agency stated.
WORKERS GOT UP EARLY TO DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS
Workers from the states of Mérida, Lara, Aragua, Carabobo, Monagas, Anzoátegui, Táchira, Zulia, Nueva Esparta, Apure, Barinas, Sucre, Bolívar, Falcón and Guárico did not miss the appointment. The thousands present throughout the country demonstrated in the main avenues, streets, squares and all over the country to express their rejection of the starvation salary they receive today.
In Barinas, public administration unions and civil society united their voices and slogans on “Avenida 23 de Enero” in Barinas, to protest against the economic policies of the Chavista regime headed by Nicolás Maduro.
In the same way, the teachers in Apure “kicked the streets” in search of being heard by the Chavista administration.
A teacher named Zuleima Corrales, with 26 years of service, assured that “They are hitting our stomachs with miserable wages. According to the classification, I am a level VI teacher, the highest level of the echelon, and I am earning only 360 bolivars, less than 20 dollars a fortnightly (40 U.S dollars a month), which is not enough for us, because families of two to three members cannot eat with that salary. We must defend our rights, because they are starving us with this situation,” Corrales explained.
“EVEN FEAR WAS STOLEN”
Neither the stubborn rain that fell early in the morning, nor the pressure from the Chavistas in their parallel staged march, stopped the planned route of the 21 organizations that make up the Nueva Esparta Trade Union Coalition, through the commercial center of Porlamar.
On behalf of the workers of Nueva Esparta State, Nueva Esparta Campus of the “Universidad de Oriente (UDO, Eastern University), Lisbeth Patiño, General Secretary of the union that brings them together, criticized the fact that in Margarita there is “a rain of high-end SUVs” belonging to the hierarchs of the regime and their children, while the common Neo-Spartan does not have enough to eat or pay for a bus fare.
“There are no resources for us, but enough is enough. They have already stolen so much that they even stole fear from us. Here we will remain on the streets as long as necessary, until they finally understand that this country moves with our joint work,” highlighted the regional leader.
LET THE ECONOMIC WAR CEASE… BUT THAT OF CHAVISM AGAINST VENEZUELANS
Against the discourse of Nicolás Maduro’s regime about a “blockade” and the “economic war”, public sector workers in Táchira joined the national protest to demand decent wages and an immediate response to the serious economic crisis they are suffering, a situation that the high-ranking leaders of Chavismo do not suffer, who do enjoy all luxuries and comforts, despite also being public officials.
Similarly, in San Juan de los Morros, capital of the Guárico State, members of the teaching union, the healthcare sector and other unions gathered in the extension of “Los Llanos” avenue, with national flags, pans, whistles and banners alluding to the crisis that is suffered by employees in the state.
From the “Avenida Fuerzas Aéreas” in Maracay, the teachers’ union led the “march of the empty pots” to demand the labor, economic, social and political rights of all Venezuelans.
Under the slogan “I don’t want “rollo ni comiquita” (complications or comics), what I want is to be paid in foreign currency”, the workers moved along Bolívar Avenue to Bicentenaria Square, where they met the other group of workers who left from “Ayacucho” Avenue.
DETERMINED IN SPITE OF HUNGER OR THREATS OF DISMISSAL… AND WATCHED BY SEBIN
Chavismo displayed its authoritarianism in Sucre: the Director of the Educational Zone of this eastern state, Karenly Sánchez, in an audio broadcast through WhatsApp groups, issued a warning threat to the directors of the state’s public schools, who did not want to participate in the march called by Chavismo on January 23rd #23Ene
“I want to see everyone, face to face, I will pass attendance to all the directors. Call and tell them: face to face I am going to call our directors, to finally see who we are left with (supporting the government) or who we should remove now.”
In Anzoátegui, teachers also joined the massive march held this Monday, January 23rd in the city of Barcelona. Like the rest of the workers in the public sector, the teachers demand better salaries, since what they currently earn is not enough for them at all.
The educator Yumila Mendoza stated that they need a decent salary, as any teacher deserves, because that is what they studied and prepared for. In addition, she pointed out that “you don’t get educated when you’re hungry.”
“I earn 186 bolivars a month and that is not enough for me. We cannot eat with dignity, just seat at the table and eat fruit or protein. How long are we going to live like this? It is not fair, we are fighting for justice,” she expressed.
In Coro the call of the unions was also felt. Those who walked through the city tried to avoid coinciding with a concentration of the Chavista regime that took place in “Los Tres Platos”.
Meanwhile, in the two protests by workers and retirees, there was a police presence with riot gear and intelligence officials who recorded the rallies and those who provided information to the media and reporters.
According to union organizations and political leaders, the protest for salary demands was replicated in at least 19 of the 23 states of the country, making it clear that the streets will remain hot as long as the regime does not respond to labor demands.
Read More: La Patilla – Unions did not “ate stories” or threats and challenged Chavismo in the streets of Venezuela