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Venezuela unrest death toll rises, Chavez statue destroyed


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Venezuela unrest death toll rises, Chavez statue destroyed

By Andrew Cawthorne and Corina Pons

 

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Demonstrators clash with a riot police armored car during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

 

CARACAS (Reuters) - 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 37 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 around the volatile South American OPEC 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 the capital 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. Reuters was unable to independently confirm it.

 

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."

 

FATALITIES ON BOTH SIDES

 

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.

 

Having failed to trigger a referendum on his rule last year, the opposition is calling for delayed state gubernatorial elections to be held as soon as possible, and for the next presidential election slated for 2018 to be brought forward.

 

Polls show the ruling Socialists would badly lose any conventional vote due to four years of economic crisis that has led to debilitating food and medicine shortages.

 

While Maduro says opposition ranks include armed hoodlums, activists accuse the security forces of using excessive force including firing teargas canisters directly at people and allowing pro-government gangs to terrorize demonstrators.

 

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."

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-05-06

 

 

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Socialism at it's best! Obama loved the Venezualin Socialist Government including the Hollywood Elites!  Now

we can see exactly what Socialism does to society! Anyone want to vote for Bernie today?

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6 hours ago, tomwct said:

Socialism at it's best! Obama loved the Venezualin Socialist Government including the Hollywood Elites! 

 

You should really stop smoking that stuff. I am far from being a fan of Obama but if you read just a little you will see that he official declared Venezuela a national security threat more than once. He even RENEWED the executive order declaring the same country as a national security threat just before he left office and Donald Trump has not rescinded it.

 

There are also a number of other measures he took against Venezuela - targeted sanctions against specific persons from the country, travel bans, asset freezes.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, humqdpf said:

You should really stop smoking that stuff. I am far from being a fan of Obama but if you read just a little you will see that he official declared Venezuela a national security threat more than once. He even RENEWED the executive order declaring the same country as a national security threat just before he left office and Donald Trump has not rescinded it.

 

There are also a number of other measures he took against Venezuela - targeted sanctions against specific persons from the country, travel bans, asset freezes.

 

 

 

Good to hear your not going to Vote For a Socialist!

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3 hours ago, tomwct said:

Obama loved the Venezualin Socialist Government

 

No, he didn't. One of his last Exec Orders was to renew Venezuela as an 'extra-ordinary threat'.  

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socialism has its benefits but in the case of venezuela giving farmers money to buy imported food rather than grow their own was clearly not a smart move. remember how people used to have t-shirts with hugo chavez on them? they are not as popular any more. whole situation was silly with chavez saying america was evil while selling them massive amounts of oil and using the income to get his people hooked on hand outs.

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Must be about time for a US invasion, Venezuala is one of the few countries in the region that has missed out in the last century or so. They could call it Operation Just Because - or have they used that before? Should do wonders for the local economy, free the locals from oppression, nothing to do with oil.

https://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

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As they often say in Venezeula, there is no Good Presidents or Bad ones. There is only Presidents when Oil Prices are High, or Low. As Venezuela depends so much of it's economy on Oil.

 

When Chavez Government got greedy and kicked out the major Oil Companys by nationalizing them, during high Oil Prices, Oil Exploration almost came to a standstill. So besides the low Oil Prices nobody really wants to do business with them anymore as they can't be trusted. So in a way, Chavez did riun there future. 

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14 hours ago, Baerboxer said:

Socialist governments always seem to represent the people - well the chosen ones who are more equal at least.

A Socialist Government without money is even more dangerous. The same Socilaist Government that Chevaz was elected from is still in Power. The big difference is that they saw days where Oil was priced at $140 / bbl. Now they have to survive on $50 / bbl. When costs to produce this Oil now and ship it, may run you $40 to $50 / bbl, or higher, you can see there is no profit in this anymore. 

 

So now with no or very little money left, they are forced to take back the benefits it gave to the people to please them, which they don't like and why they are so angry and upset now. They can't buy food or medicine, because it was government subsidized, and now this government can't afford to do that anymore or buy them.

 

Mind you this government kept trying to please the people on borrowed money on hopes of better days, but those better days didn't come. Last I saw the Inflation Rate in Venezuela was around 800%.

 

Almost half of the total Government Revenue comes from the sale of OIl, and almost all of there Export Income comes from Oil. So other than Petroleum, and Petroleum Products, Venezeula doesn't really have much else to sell. Mining could have been big their to, but they also screwed that up as well by nationalizing. They need to import food and medicine.

 

To make matters worst, in 2016 the Government had to devalue it's currency, the Bolivar,. The Official Exchange Rate to buy Food and Medicine was 1 USD would get you 10 Bolivars worth of food and medicine, but after they devalued it, it is now 1 USD to 6.3 Bolivar. That is like seeing the cost of your food and medicine going up 55% overnight.

 

So naturally the people are unhappy with no more free hand outs as the pot is dry. A new government isn't going to change this much either. A change in attitude from the people is really what is needed and to go through some tough years getting out of this hole.  

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A country where most of the population are RC and their spiritual leader is more worried about a bomb being called Mother.

I have a suggestion but I can't post it.

And don't tell me politics and religion aren't in the same bed there.

Edited by overherebc
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"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."

 

Good move there. You lose your majority in the National Assembly so set up a "constituent assembly" to replace it!

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On 5/6/2017 at 2:34 AM, tomwct said:

Socialism at it's best! Obama loved the Venezualin Socialist Government including the Hollywood Elites!  Now

we can see exactly what Socialism does to society! Anyone want to vote for Bernie today?

And so you clearly see what "republicanism" does to society.

What do you know about socialism?

 

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No more invasions. Let Venezuela sink or swim.  Their citizens voted for a Socialist Government and now they have one, but now more like a Dictatorship or as USA's leftist Party likes to be known aka Progressive Party or in Venezuela a Progressive Government. Thank God for Trump!

Edited by tomwct
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