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Is the Strike in Venezuela for the People, Or for the Businessmen? President Hugo Chavez Sends Troops to Regain Control of the Oil Industry As the Strike in Venezuela Enters Its 11th Day

December 12, 2002

The strike in Venezuela enters its eleventh day today.

President Hugo Chavez has deployed troops to take over oil tankers, refineries, and fuel trucks. Oil production has dropped by 70%.

Combat troops are manning gas stations that still have supplies, lines outside Caracas banks stretch for thousands of feet, dozens of flights are canceled, and nearly half of the Supreme Court justices have stopped work.

Chavez foes and supporters swarmed into the streets last night for rival demonstrations. Chavez supporters again protested outside television stations in Caracas. They say the television networks are only reporting on the anti-Chavez demonstrations, and some newscasters are even urging viewers to join them.

Three people were killed and 28 injured during a shooting at an opposition rally last Friday.

Earlier this year, a similar strike led to a coup d’etat. The Democratically elected President Hugo Chavez was overthrown for two days, until loyal troops returned him to power.

Government and opposition leaders are in talks mediated by the secretary general of the Organization of American States. Little progress has been made.


  • Greg Wilpert, sociologist and freelance journalist working in Venezuela. He is currently working on a book on Venezuela during Chavez presidency.
  • Carlos Romero, professor of political science at the Central University of Venezuela.
  • Fidel Hernandez, grassroots organizer who works with poor people in the barrio and indigenous people. He helped to organize the recent protest at television stations.

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