Venezuela says second young man killed in anti-Maduro protests

Apr 13, 2017, 01:33
Venezuela says second young man killed in anti-Maduro protests

Mexico's government on Sunday condemned the acts of violence that have taken place in Venezuela in recent days, which damaged public buildings and the offices of banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for information, although Socialist Party officials tweeted that Maduro had been received by a cheering crowd in San Felix.

Some 188 protesters, a lot of them students, were arrested in the period April 4-8 and 57 are still behind bars, rights group Penal Forum said on Monday.

Twenty-year-old Daniel Queliz was killed Monday evening in the central coastal city of Valencia after a friend says he was struck in the neck by gunfire while participating in the protest.

Duarte also discussed the unrest's first victim, 19-year-old Jairo Ortiz.

Venezuelans have been irate for months over shortages of basic goods and roaring inflation that have led to millions skipping meals or surviving on starches.

The demonstrations initially began in response to a controversial and later annulled Supreme Court (TSJ) ruling on March 29 giving the judiciary temporary powers to assume certain functions of the National Assembly, which is now in violation of the high court. Speaking directly to officers at the National Guard's entrance, National Assembly president Julio Borges said they could decide either to be the heirs of independence leader Simon Bolivar or "the bodyguards of Nicolas Maduro".

The court eventually reversed the decision but protests continued to snowball against Maduro's government.

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The National Assembly later held a special meeting with dozens of civil society members to establish an agenda and create working groups with the goals of holding elections, letting humanitarian aid enter the country, restoring democratic institutions and freeing those deemed political prisoners.

As angry public demonstrations spread in Venezuela, following the virtual abolition of the nation's parliament, the country's Catholic bishops warned against a slide "toward dictatorship", and backed peaceful protests. They pointed to tear gas being fired into one Caracas clinic, requiring a baby to be rushed out by medical technicians.

Despite the surge in protests, many Venezuelans are pessimistic that marches can bring about change, scared of violent clashes, or simply too busy trying to find food.

"Nobody can disqualify the Venezuelan people", an emotional Capriles said from a stage Saturday as he called on protesters to march to the ombudsman's office downtown. "What is their agenda?"

The secretary general of the Organisation of American States, Luis Almagro - a prominent critic of Maduro - also took his latest shot at the president.

Last year, the opposition launched an abortive attempt to force Maduro out of office by seeking to hold a recall referendum.

The violence in the streets seemed to intensify.