Opposition vows to con­tinue protests to oust Maduro

The Star Late Edition - - WORLD -

LEAD­ERS of the Venezue­lan rightwing opposition say they will con­tinue their protests on the streets of Cara­cas to force the oust­ing of Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro.

Hen­rique Capriles, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Jus­tice First party, called on his fol­low­ers to “re­sist” in the fo­cal points that had seen vi­o­lence and van­dal­ism in the past weeks.

Capriles said one of the fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ments for the opposition to aban­don street protests was for the demo­crat­i­cally-elected gov­ern­ment of Maduro to sched­ule elec­tions de­spite the fact that Maduro’s term does not end un­til 2019.

Venezuela’s Vice-Pres­i­dent Tareck El Ais­sami in­di­cated that the opposition was trying to de­pict Venezuela as a coun­try in chaos to jus­tify for­eign in­ter­ven­tion.

“We know there are groups in­ter­ested in sell­ing the world a coun­try in chaos. Hen­rique Capriles has said in an ir­re­spon­si­ble man­ner that the gov­ern­ment is guilty of these deaths and there­fore will have to prove these se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions in court.”

He said there was ev­i­dence that right-wing Na­tional Assem­bly Deputy Freddy Gue­vara led hooded demon­stra­tors, ad­ding that such acts of vi­o­lence were also pro­moted by Na­tional Assem­bly leader Julio Borges.

Right-wing lead­ers had called a demon­stra­tion in the hopes of top­pling the Bo­li­var­ian gov­ern­ment but failed when pro-gov­ern­ment forces came out in de­fence of the coun­try’s sovereignty.

The pub­lic min­istry ap­pointed three prose­cu­tors to in­ves­ti­gate two deaths that oc­curred: Car­los Moreno in Cara­cas and Paola An­dreina Ramirez in Tachira state.

In ad­di­tion, a na­tional guard mem­ber was re­port­edly shot dead dur­ing vi­o­lent protests by the opposition in the Los Salias mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Mi­randa state.

In the Tachira case, an opposition protester iden­ti­fied as Ivan Per­nia was de­tained in the shoot­ing death of the young woman.

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said the Trump administration was closely watch­ing the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela, ac­cus­ing Maduro’s gov­ern­ment of si­lenc­ing the opposition.

“We are con­cerned that the gov­ern­ment of Maduro is vi­o­lat­ing its own con­sti­tu­tion and is not al­low­ing the opposition to… or­gan­ise in a way that ex­presses the views of the Venezue­lan peo­ple,” Tiller­son said.

The re­marks come a day af­ter the US State De­part­ment warned: “Those re­spon­si­ble for the crim­i­nal re­pres­sion of peace­ful demo­cratic ac­tiv­ity ... will be held in­di­vid­u­ally ac­count­able.”

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Sup­port­ers of Venezuela’s Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro, clad in red, and opposition sup­port­ers ar­gue in Cara­cas.

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