Dueling Rallies Rack Caracas After Death Toll Inches Toward 30 In Venezuela

Elizabeth Williams
April 27, 2017

Maduro has long had testy relations with the Washington-based regional group, calling it an instrument of U.S. "imperialism".

Previously, Maduro had warned he would pull his country out of the OAS if such talks were held, after a similar meeting at the end of March convened to discuss Venezuela's democracy was criticised for having broken the body's own protocol.

"Tomorrow, as ordered by President Nicolas Maduro, we will present a letter of resignation from the Organisation of American States, and we will begin a procedure that will take 24 months", Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said.

"We've taken a giant step toward breaking with imperial interventionism", Maduro wrote on Twitter.

It is unclear what Venezuela's withdrawal from the OAS would mean for the organization, which has never had a member state leave since its charter was signed in 1948.

His office, which describes Saab as a human rights activist whose activities included defending political activists "disappeared" in Venezuela during the last century, did not respond to a request for comment.

Her comments came hours before envoys to the OAS were scheduled to meet Wednesday to debate a proposal by Mexico, Brazil, the US and 13 other nations to convene a special meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela's "situation".

"This is without a doubt a desperate measure that indicates the government is trying to get out (of the OAS) before sanctions are applied", he told AFP. Almagro unsuccessfully urged OAS members to suspend Venezuela.

Venezuela has suffered an economic collapse fueled by a plunge in global prices for its crucial oil exports.

Yibram Saab said in an online video that he attended an opposition march Wednesday that was planned to reach the offices of his father, national ombudsman Tarek William Saab.

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Huge protests flared up in Venezuela after its top court tried to take over legislative powers from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

A 20-year-old male demonstrator died in the latest clashes between protesters and security forces in Venezuela, said officials of the city's eastern Chacao district. Protesters threw stones and petrol bombs. Elsewhere, children were evacuated from a school after being exposed to tear gas.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol tweeted that two soldiers were wounded in Caracas by armed men on motorbikes who he said were "contracted by the terrorist rightwing".

The opposition, calling on Maduro to call early elections, have staged daily rallies for weeks.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets over the last month to protest against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, who they blame for triple-digit inflation, hours-long lines to get food, shortages of medical supplies and a rise in crime.

Neighbours have expressed concern at mounting unrest in the country.

A recent survey by pollster Venebarometro found that seven in 10 Venezuelans opposed Maduro.

According to the attorney general, 26 people have been killed - including four minors - in the current wave of protests that began at the end of March.

Several of them have been shot in anti-government protests that have erupted into clashes with riot police.

Other reports by VgToday

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