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BTL:General Strike Organized Against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Crumbles

Interview with Steve Ellner, professor of history in Caracas, Venezuela conducted by Between the Lines'Scott Harris
General Strike Organized Against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Crumbles

Interview with Steve Ellner, professor of history in Caracas, Venezuela conducted by Between the Lines'Scott Harris

The general strike organized by opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, now entering its eighth week, has been crumbling. Although the South American nation's economy has lost hundreds of millions of dollars due primarily to a work stoppage which paralyzed the state oil industry, backing for the strike and its leaders has withered.

In a recent show of support for the embattled populist president, hundreds of thousands of mostly poor Venezuelans took to the streets to demonstrate their backing for the constitution and Chavez, who has been twice democratically elected. But increasing class and racial polarization in Venezuelan society continues to breed tension that often erupts in violence. Recent efforts by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and the Organization of American States to broker a deal between Chavez and his opponents have thus far failed to produce results.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Steve Ellner, professor of history at the Universidad de Oriente in Caracas, who takes a look at the sputtering general strike and the political resilience of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Steve Ellner is the co-editor of "Venezuelan Politics in the Chavez Era, Class Polarization and Conflict," by Lynne Reinner Publishers

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