Venezuela's opposition eases strike to focus on constitutional amendment - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Venezuela's opposition eases strike to focus on constitutional amendment

Updated:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Opponents of President Hugo Chavez began focusing on a petition driver to cut his term in power Saturday, after agreeing to ease a two-month strike that has crippled Venezuela's economy.

Opposition leaders plan to hold what they call the ``Great Sign-up'' on Sunday, inviting citizens to sign various initiatives rejecting Chavez's government and seeking his ouster.

The opposition hopes one petition in particular _ a constitutional amendment to reduce Chavez's term from six to four years _ will succeed, paving the way for general elections later this year.

Under the constitution, organizers need signatures from 15 percent, or about 1.8 million, of the country's 12 million registered voters _ a number they expect to easily surpass.

``Our idea is to get 5 million signatures,'' Carlos Ocariz, a member of the opposition party Justice First, said Saturday on Globovision television.

The amendment was one of two proposals made by Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President Jimmy Carter. The other is to hold a recall referendum on Chavez's rule halfway through his six-year term, in August. The opposition will also collect signatures for this initiative Sunday.

Representatives from the United States, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Portugal and Spain said met in Caracas on Friday to urge both sides to accept one of Carter's proposals and bring Venezuela's prolonged crisis to a swift end.

The six-nation ``Group of Friends'' said both the government and opposition must make concessions during negotiations mediated by Cesar Gaviria, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States.

Strike organizers, who began the protest Dec. 2 to pressure Chavez into accepting a referendum on his rule, said they would ease the work stoppage next week to protect businesses against bankruptcy.

``We are expecting a gradual return to activities in the various sectors that make up the country,'' opposition negotiator Manuel Cova said Saturday. ``We want to give the international community our absolute disposal to negotiate an electoral solution.''

The strike has cost at least $4 billion in lost oil revenues alone, the government estimates. And the Santander Central Hispano investment bank has warned that the economy could shrink by as much as 40 percent in the first quarter of 2003.

Venezuela's annualized inflation reached 33.8 percent in January, the highest in five years, the central bank said Saturday.

Most small businesses never joined the strike, and many more companies have opened their doors in recent days. Factories, schools, malls and franchise restaurants would be urged to open next week, strike leaders said Friday.

Effects of the strike remain greatest in the vital oil industry, which makes up a third of the economy and provides half of government income. Despite government efforts to restart the industry, production remains just over 1 million barrels a day, or about a third of pre-strike levels.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Veteran's Remains Returned To Oklahoma After Missing In Action 50-Plus Years

    Veteran's Remains Returned To Oklahoma After Missing In Action 50-Plus Years

    The remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot arrived in Oklahoma after being Missing In Action for more than 50 years.

    More >>

    The remains of a U.S. Air Force pilot arrived in Oklahoma after being Missing In Action for more than 50 years.

    More >>
  • Tulsa Man Accused Of Sexually Abusing 6-Year-Old

    Tulsa Man Accused Of Sexually Abusing 6-Year-Old

    Patrick Leffler mugPatrick Leffler mug
    A 26-year-old Tulsa man has been charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 for the abuse a 6-year-old girl who was in his care, online court records state.  Patrick Ellis Leffler was charged Tuesday and he was taken into custody Wednesday, according to the Tulsa County jail website.  In an arrest affidavit, the 6-year-old victim told police Leffler put his hand down her pants and touched her in her private areas and also touched her chest while she was as...More >>
    A 26-year-old Tulsa man has been charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 for the abuse a 6-year-old girl who was in his care, online court records state.  Patrick Ellis Leffler was charged Tuesday and he was taken into custody Wednesday, according to the Tulsa County jail website.  In an arrest affidavit, the 6-year-old victim told police Leffler put his hand down her pants and touched her in her private areas and also touched her chest while she was as...More >>
Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.