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Montevideo, May 27th 2017 - 21:16 UTC

Venezuela death toll climbs to 40; some military refuse to repress; statue of Chavez destroyed

Saturday, May 6th 2017 - 08:04 UTC
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Vowing to stay in the streets for as long as necessary, opposition leaders announced nationwide women's marches for Saturday with the biggest planned for Caracas. Vowing to stay in the streets for as long as necessary, opposition leaders announced nationwide women's marches for Saturday with the biggest planned for Caracas.
“Students destroyed this statue of Chavez. They accuse him, correctly, of destroying their future,” opposition lawmaker Carlos Valero said “Students destroyed this statue of Chavez. They accuse him, correctly, of destroying their future,” opposition lawmaker Carlos Valero said
Maduro claims they are seeking a violent coup; he is setting up a “constituent assembly” super body to shake up public powers and change the constitution Maduro claims they are seeking a violent coup; he is setting up a “constituent assembly” super body to shake up public powers and change the constitution
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 members of the military in Caracas had been arrested for opposing “repression” Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 members of the military in Caracas had been arrested for opposing “repression”

A 20-year-old Venezuelan protester died on Friday after being shot in the head, authorities said, taking fatalities from a month of anti-government unrest to at least 40 as the opposition geared up for more demonstrations. Hecder Lugo was hurt during fighting between demonstrators and security forces in Valencia on Thursday that also injured four others, the local opposition Mayor Enzo Scarano said in a series of tweets.

 The state prosecutor's office, which keeps an official count of deaths since protests began against socialist President Nicolas Maduro in early April, confirmed he died after being shot in a protest. Another 717 people have been injured and 152 are still in jail from the hundreds rounded up in widespread unrest in the once oil rich nation of 30 million people, according to the office's latest tally.

There has been violence and widespread looting this week in Valencia, a once-bustling industrial hub two hours from Caracas by road.

And in an incident loaded with symbolism, a handful of young men destroyed a statue of late leader Hugo Chavez in the oil-producing Zulia state, according to videos circulating on social media on Friday evening. Footage shows the statue, which depicts Chavez saluting and wearing a sash, being yanked down to cheers in a public plaza before it is bashed into a sidewalk and then the road as onlookers swear at the leftist, who died in 2013 from cancer.

“Students destroyed this statue of Chavez. They accuse him, correctly, of destroying their future,” opposition lawmaker Carlos Valero said about the incident, which was also reported in local media.

Venezuela's opposition, which now enjoys majority support after being in the shadow of the ruling Socialist party since Chavez's 1998 election win, says his successor Maduro has become a dictator and wrecked the economy.

Vowing to stay in the streets for as long as necessary, opposition leaders announced nationwide women's marches for Saturday with the biggest planned for the capital Caracas. Opposition lawmakers briefly unfurled a banner on Friday at the National Assembly, where they won a majority in 2015 thanks to voter ire over the recession, saying “Maduro Dictator”.

The president says they are seeking a violent coup with U.S. support, and is setting up a “constituent assembly” super body to shake up public powers, change the constitution, and possibly replace the existing legislature.

“President Maduro has made a big call to national dialogue,” Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told diplomats at a meeting on Friday, showing them images of violence and vandalism on the streets caused by youths at the front of protests.

“They are not peaceful, the opposition leaders share big responsibility in these acts of extremism and vandalism.”

Opposition protests have often started peacefully but degenerated into violence when security forces block marchers and masked youths fight them with stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks shot from pipes turned into homemade mortars.

Fatalities have included supporters of both sides, bystanders and members of the security forces. Gunshot wounds have been the most common cause of deaths.

The opposition is boycotting Maduro's constituent assembly process, saying it is a ploy to keep him in power by setting up a body with mechanisms to ensure a government majority.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 members of the military in Caracas had been arrested for opposition “repression,” adding that their relatives had asked him to publicize the detentions.

“Cousin, it's enough!” Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino's cousin, Ernesto Padrino, wrote to him in an open letter. He was following in the footsteps of the state human rights ombudsman's son who surprised the country by publishing a video begging his father to “end the injustice.”

“Eighty percent of Venezuelans want elections as a way out of our nation's grave economic and political crisis,” wrote Ernesto Padrino on Facebook. “Sooner or later, the Venezuelan people will make you pay.”

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

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  • Troy Tempest

    The great Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez and Maduro has shown its true nature.
    Think, Stevie Supa Tupa, Nostrils, and Enrique, in turn show their own true colours by supporting that regime.

    'Ideology before people' seems to be their battle cry.

    After years of red-shirted, gun-wielding motochurros murdering unarmed citizens in the streets, the cracks are starting to show.
    How soon before the military fully lose their appetite for 'suppressing' their brothers, sisters, cousins, and they fully turn on Socialist Dictator Maduro?

    May 06th, 2017 - 01:53 pm +1
  • Jack Bauer

    In a rare outbreak of sincerity, while being carried away by his idea of self-importance, Lula stated he was more determined than ever to become the “dictator” of Brazil...that's right : “dictator”.....and the first thing he would do, is imprison every journalist and/or politician who had ever spoken against him...without a trial, of course....
    Understandable, given his desperation now that the “Lavajato” is closing in on him, as more whistleblowers unanimously accuse him of being the ''big chief“, or ”commander” of the corruption scheme that robbed billions from Petrobras and took bribery involving contracts with the construction companies to unseen levels before 2003 ; yesterday, the most recent whistleblower, Renato Duque (ex-director of PB) told Moro that one of the names used to refer to Lula was “nine” (a reference to his having only 9 fingers....which obviously was no impediment to his becoming the biggest crook Brazil has ever seen).
    On the 10th May, he'll have to testify in front of Judge Moro, and it will be no surprise if he refuses to say anything, except repeat that he is the most honest person in Brazil and that he is a victim of political persecution.

    May 06th, 2017 - 06:22 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    Really? Where did you see that?

    May 06th, 2017 - 08:11 pm 0
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