Venezue­lan death toll hits 89; vi­o­lence rages

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Four pro­test­ers were killed in the Venezue­lan city of Bar­quisimeto ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials yesterday, who said the num­ber of peo­ple who have died in three months of anti-govern­ment demon­stra­tions now has reached 89. No of­fi­cial de­tails were pro­vided as to what led to the lat­est deaths late Fri­day, al­though at least one op­po­si­tion mem­ber of Venezuela’s leg­is­la­ture said the vic­tims, who ranged in age from 20 to 49, died by gun­fire.

The city Bar­quisimeto is lo­cated some 350 kilo­me­ters west of Caracas. Satur­day marks three months of op­po­si­tion protests de­mand­ing the ouster of Venezuela’s Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro whose term in of­fice does not end un­til Jan­uary 2019. Au­thor­i­ties said that in ad­di­tion to the 89 dead, Venezuela over the past three months has seen about 1,000 peo­ple hurt in the wors­en­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic up­heaval, and another 3,500 ar­rested.

Mean­while, Pope Fran­cis yesterday called for an end to vi­o­lence in Venezuela and urged the coun­try to find a “demo­cratic so­lu­tion” to its prob­lems. “I as­sure my prayers for this beloved na­tion and ex­press my close­ness to the fam­i­lies who have lost their chil­dren in the streets,” he said. “I call for an end to vi­o­lence and a peace­ful and demo­cratic so­lu­tion to the cri­sis,” the Ar­gen­tine said at the end of the An­gelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.

No of­fi­cial de­tails were pro­vided as to what led to the lat­est deaths late Fri­day, al­though at least one op­po­si­tion mem­ber of Venezuela’s leg­is­la­ture said the vic­tims, who ranged in age from 20 to 49, died by gun­fire. Satur­day marks three months of op­po­si­tion protests de­mand­ing the ouster of Venezuela’s Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro whose term in of­fice runs un­til Jan­uary 2019. Maduro is blamed for a des­per­ate eco­nomic cri­sis­marked by short­ages of food, medicine and other ba­sics-that has sparked hunger and deadly vi­o­lence. —Agen­cies

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