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Venezuelan Workers Protest Amid Privatization Fears

Caracas, December 18 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Venezuelan workers protested on Thursday against proposed privatization of state assets.  Thousands rallied in Caracas, amid growing fears the right-wing political coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), could push for mass privatizations when it takes control of the National Assembly (AN) next month.

Since the MUD won a majority in the AN elections on December 6, right-wing leaders haven't presented a clear economic agenda. However, in the past, many key figures in the MUD have backed privatizations, and since the elections various individual MUD spokespeople have expressed their intention to privatize key services.

The latest protests against the MUD on Thursday centered around fears a MUD controlled AN could seek to privatize the National Electric Corporation (Corpoelec).

Union leader Elio Palacio said such a move could impact as many as 54,000 workers.

“We would face uncertainty, because everything indicates (privatization) could lead to firings, a deterioration of working conditions, and even a deterioration of industrial safety and hygiene practices,” Palacio said.

Since the December 6th, tens of thousands of workers from key state enterprises have protested over similar concerns.

State telecommunications company CanTV has staged its own demonstrations, while workers from public broadcaster ANTV have spoken out against a proposal from one key MUD leader to gut their station.

Progressive social movements have also begun mobilizing against the new AN, with President Nicolas Maduro launching a campaign to reinvigorate Venezuela's socialist revolution.

Since his socialist party, the PSUV, lost its majority in the AN early this month, Maduro has called to reorganize and reconnect with grassroots social movements.

In a key address days after the election, Maduro emphasized the importance of addressing the country’s current economic woes by proposing to hold a popular economic congress, which is intended to provide a platform for supporters and grassroots movements to formulate strategies to rectify the current economic challenges facing Venezuela.

The Venezuelan leader has taken on a tone of self-reflection, calling on his party and supporters to examine the reasons behind the electoral defeat in the AN.
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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