Two shot dead in Venezuela protests

21 Avril, 2017, 03:23 | Author: Claudine Rigal

Inflation in the country is expected to top 700% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, despite Venezuela sitting on the world's largest proven oil reserves. Dozens had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

He said there is a real worry that the situation could escalate, with more conflict between the opposition and pro-government groups, known as colectivos, which the opposition accuses of operating as paramilitary groups.

Across the country, the clashes have been intense.

"Opposition protesters say they've been roughed up, beaten and also threatened by these groups", Weddle said.

Maduro rallied his supporters to participate in a counter march, and thousands turned out Wednesday wearing red clothing that marked them as Chavistas.

The "scenario" Maduro referred to consists in generating violence and deaths and then blaming the Venezuelan government for allegedly attacking political opponents.

A Supreme Court decision in March to assume the powers of the opposition-led Congress sparked a wave of protests that have not ebbed, even though the court has partly reversed the measure in the face of worldwide condemnation.

They were not the first to be felled in the course of the anti-Maduro protests that have been mounting since late last month.

Riot police take position while clashing with demonstrators.

MARGARET WARNER: The oil-rich nation is also mired in an economic crisis, with skyrocketing, triple-digit inflation, rampant crime and food shortages. In the tweet, Trump called for Venezuela to release its political prisoners.

On Monday, 11 Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, called on Venezuela's government to respect the constitutional right to peaceful protest.

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Citing the need to maintain order, the Venezuelan government took extraordinary measures to limit the size of Wednesday's opposition march, cutting subway service and setting up roadblocks along highways.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, in an unprecedented move, has called for general elections in the country even though Maduro's presidential term officially ends in 2019. Maduro's government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington. Maduro, speaking at a meeting with high-ranking political and military officials, denounced the U.S. statement as a "green light and approval of a coup process". The 44-year-old governor, who has run for president twice, said the government was again acting like a dictatorship.

As tensions have mounted, the government has used its almost-complete control of Venezuela's institutions to pursue its opponents.

On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Penal Forum, a nongovernmental organization, said security forces in the country have carried out 538 arrests since early April. It was unclear how many people remained in custody.

"The US government, the state department, have given the green light, the approval for a coup process to intervene in Venezuela", Maduro said in a televised address Tuesday, according to The Guardian.

Opposition marchers included Liliana Machuca, who earns about $20 a month holding two jobs teaching literature. Her face was covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of tear gas.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric coming from the government.

"Tomorrow at the same time we are summoning the whole Venezuelan people to mobilize", senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles told a news conference.

Machuca said during Wednesday's march says she doesn't expect change overnight, but believes that protesting is her only option after all the abuses she says have been committed by the government.

"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can...."

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