Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

United Nations Security Council turns eye to Venezuela crisis


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that the protest his opposition was planning for Wednesday night reminded him of the rallies held during the rise of Nazism in Europe. Although the decision was later revoked, protests continued and even strengthened.

Maduro's government accuses them of seeking a violent coup and says numerous protesters are no more than "terrorists".

Maduro has previously claimed that the U.S. was pressuring Latin American governments "to support a political, diplomatic and global intervention in Venezuela".

Opposition activists accuse the socialist president of operating as a dictator, using his influence over state institutions to stay in power. He called Venezuela's problems a domestic matter and said Maduro's government is trying to resolve them and will not allow any outside interference.

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Diego Hernandez, 33, and Luis Alviarez, 18, were killed in Tachira. Diego Arellano, 31, died during surgery Tuesday after being shot at a demonstration south of Caracas.

Protests at the homes and businesses of officials or ex-officials with links to Chavismo - the left-wing ideology created by Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez - are broadcast on social media via accounts dedicated to promoting the harassment of those individuals living overseas.

Arrests have been made in just eight of the deaths, five of which involved police officers, according to the chief prosecutor's office.

More than 750 are believed to have been injured during the protests so far, and up to 2,000 protesters are believed to have been arrested by Venezuelan law enforcement.

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The military operation comes as President Nicolas Maduro faces mounting worldwide pressure to hold elections and refrain from using tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters.

"They can not go on killing and torturing people, and getting away with it", Almagro told AFP. "In this sense, they are both responsible for every aggression, every shot and every death".

The U.N. Security Council is meeting Wednesday afternoon at Haley's request to discuss an worldwide effort aimed at combating further deterioration in Venezuela's economic and political situation. The envoy was withdrawn previous year in a political row. Venezuelans launched a seventh week of anti-government demonstrations by blocking roads on Monday, vowing not to budge all day in protest at a deadly political and economic crisis.

The measure is meant to "defend and guarantee citizens a dignified life, to protect them against threats, to maintain the constitutional order, to restore the social peace that guarantees an opportune access to basic goods and services, so they can enjoy their rights in an environment of peace and stability". Public transportation was shut down, the state's agricultural industry - a critical provider of Venezuela's fruits and vegetables - paralyzed and people worriedly lined up at ATMs to withdraw cash.

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"One of our biggest challenges must be to generate new sources of national wealth", Maduro stated when the decree was originally passed in January 2016.

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