The faculty of public universities has been on indefinite strike since May 30 protesting budget constraints and dismal salaries.
Today two rival marches, pro and anti-government, took to the streets of Caracas.
According to the government student and professors protest are but a part of a destabilizing plan against the country.
During the pro-government march, the rector of the public Universidad Nacional de las Fuerzas Armadas (UNEFA) General JesúsGonzález González declared that the strike responds to “political interests, because it is clear the they [the professors] want to promote disorder, differences, and destabilization of Venezuela.”
The rector of the Univesidad Bolivariana added that opposition students wanted to “surrender the country to the empire. Our students support a socialist country.”
Minutes ago President Maduro, on a State visit to Nicaragua, wrote on twitter: “I appeal to all university sectors to reject the manipulations and sabotage of rightist politicians and to come back to dialogue so that we can reach an understanding…”
Such appeals to dialogue are unlikely to appease the protests. As David Smilde and I explain in an article for the blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, the government is paying the price of excluding elected union leaders from negotiations in favor of professors “representatives” appointed by the government.