CARACAS – Scattered barricades blocked streets and protesters battled police in some Caracas neighborhoods Friday even while life went on as usual in others as a political standoff persisted through the second day of national holidays.
In spite of the long weekend heading into three days of Carnaval, student-led protests have so far maintained a street presence, not just in the capital, but also in cities including Valencia, Merida and San Cristobal.
In that context, President Nicolas Maduro forged ahead with a new round of televised peace meetings Friday. He announced his intention to establish similar conferences in all states. Absent were members of the opposition, who refuse to open a dialogue until Maduro releases protesters from jail and stops harsh crackdowns on protests.
“I believe the country would win if we see each other face to face and talk,” Maduro said.
But that appears unlikely to happen with one opposition leader sitting in jail and an arrest order out for another.