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  • Venezuelan opposition protesters attack a police officer in Caracas.

    Venezuelan opposition protesters attack a police officer in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 April 2017

Ninety percent of Venezuelans reject violent protests, according to Venezuelan polling firm Hinterlaces.

Mainstream media outlets covering ongoing political unrest in Venezuela portray opposition protesters as peace-loving progressives who want to democratize their country.

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Turning a blind eye to their ongoing violence, these outlets paint a rose-colored picture of what Venezuela would look like if the opposition took power. 

But for Oscar Schemel, president of independent Venezuelan polling firm Hinterlaces, the opposition has no vision beyond violence. 

“Standing before a country that demands answers and solutions, the opposition isn’t presenting any proposal other than ‘get rid of (President Nicolas) Maduro now,’” Schemel wrote in a recent editorial. “It’s the same thing they tried with Chavez, and it didn’t work at all.”

Earlier this month, Hinterlaces conducted polls across Venezuela, asking residents about their thoughts on the Bolivarian Revolution, the opposition and rising tensions between both parties. Here’s what they found: 

- 6 percent approve international intervention to remove Maduro from power.

- 87 percent disapprove of any international military intervention in Venezuela. 

- 90 percent reject violent right-wing protests. 

- 83 percent are in favor of dialogue. 

- 67 percent think the priority of this dialogue should be to resolve the country’s economic problems.

Hinterlaces’ findings echo polls conducted by Venezuelan polling organization Meganalisis, which released a study last month revealing that 74.3 percent of Venezuelans don’t trust the country’s right-wing opposition.

“From the National Assembly a series of expectations were created that unfortunately were not fulfilled,” Venezuelan political scientist Jose Vicente Carrasquero said about Meganalisis’ survey, El Nuevo Heraldo reports.

Carrasquero referenced the promises made by the opposition-controlled National Assembly to reverse socialist legislation.

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Since winning a majority in the National Assembly during Venezuela’s 2015 parliamentary elections, right-wing opposition lawmakers have been scrambling to preserve legitimacy. 

Not only is there ideological infighting between the MUD’s centrist Popular Will and right-wing Justice First parties, but the opposition lawmakers have also been accused of filibustering and blocking progressive legislation proposed by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

For these reasons, Schemel believes the opposition would have tremendous challenges governing Venezuela if they were to take power. 

“For the national and international ultra-right, they aren’t proposing coexistence or alternation (of political power), let alone consensus,” Schemel also wrote in his editorial.

“On the contrary, they (the opposition) are engaged in a strategy of creating chaos and neurosis across Venezuelan society, to destroy Chavismo, reconfigure the national-popular culture and impose despair (on the people).”

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