CARACAS – Thousands of chavistas marched on Tuesday in Caracas in support of the National Constitutional Assembly convened by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and representatives of the country’s 1,800 communes and the 50 community councils expressed their backing for the decision in a statement.
“Today, we can see that 10 days after President Nicolas Maduro took the initiative, the constitutional assembly is on the street and ... has become the people,” said the head of the presidential commission established to hold the assembly, Elias Jaua, from the Miraflores presidential palace upon receiving the demonstrators.
The ceremony at which Maduro’s participation had been expected was attended by Aristobulo Isturiz and Adan Chavez, both members of the constitutional committee, and by Penitentiary Service Minister Iris Varela.
Jaua read the manifesto delivered to him by the representatives of the communes, which said that “the communes, the community councils have already been converted into thousands of spaces for debate and meeting.”
He thanked the representatives for their support and commented that on Wednesday the committee’s meetings with the country’s political sectors will continue.
“Tomorrow, we’ll welcome the constitutional assembly members from 1999, we’ll receive the councilors and the legislative councils from all over the country. Tomorrow afternoon or on Thursday morning we’ll visit the Moral Power to explain to it the proposal and we’ll be hoping for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to tell us that they can receive us,” he said.
The idea of drafting a new constitution has been rejected by several sectors, including the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, the opposition MUD coalition and certain unions, who say that it is “a fraud” and will not resolve the country’s problems.
Nevertheless, the government has met with a number of sectors and on Monday held a meeting with 17 political parties, some of them belonging to the opposition although none of them part of the MUD coalition.
Maduro’s initiative to modify the constitution comes amid ongoing anti-government protests over the past month, some of which have degenerated into violence that has left 37 people dead and hundreds injured or under arrest.