Venezuela leader says officials treated like Jews under Nazis
19 May, 2017, 20:46
Opposition supporters temporarily block trucks during a blockade in an avenue while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 15, 2017.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the South American nation of 30 million in protest against the leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro, demanding elections, freedom for jailed activists, foreign aid and autonomy for the opposition-led legislature.
Venezuela's Supreme Court has always been packed with government loyalists, some of dubious legal qualifications.
Alfredo Romero, the head of the Venezuelan Penal Forum, told Radio Caracas Radio (RCR) that his group estimates that over 1,500 political prisoners are now behind bars in Venezuela.
The capital's Child and Adolescent Foundation president Anahi Arizmendi has also attacked the opposition's recruitment of children for vandalism.
The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on members of Venezuela's Supreme Court following a series of rulings that the US says has usurped power from the nation's opposition-controlled congress and sparked a deadly wave of unrest. While the Supreme Court ultimately rescinded that ruling, Maduro later announced the creation of a constitutional congress to draft a new constitution, presumably to expand executive powers and limit the authority of the opposition-controlled assembly. Maduro says far-right extremists are working with criminal gangs to foment the violence.
The 2009 budget reiterated support and continued funding for the Organization of American States in order to deploy teams of "democracy practitioners" to Venezuela and Bolivia where they say "democracy is threatened by the growing presence of alternate concepts such as "participatory democracy". The state prosecutor's office confirmed his death, which pushed the death toll in six weeks of unrest to at least 43. Haley said Washington did not call the council meeting to be intrusive.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, however, said on Twitter that the United States was out to topple the Venezuelan government.
"It is not tolerable that these individuals, after they destroyed the country, and are responsible for the chaos that Venezuela is experiencing, seek to exonerate themselves", he said.
"We will never be a threat against the peace and security in global or the regional level", he insisted.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is praising the Trump administration's sanctions. Venezuela officially notified the OAS on April 28 that it intends to quit the regional group. The United States warned on Wednesday at the United Nations that Venezuela's crisis was worsening and could escalate into a major conflict similar to Syria or South Sudan.
He warned that if things go wrong, Venezuela could "descend into conflict" and threaten worldwide peace and security.
Since the beginning of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, with the democratic election of former president Hugo Chavez in 1998, the oil-rich nation has been repeatedly attacked as "undemocratic".
He also seemed to pin responsibility for the deaths during recent protests across Venezuela on the government's opponents, saying the fatal injuries had been caused by home-made weapons.
"It doesn't help at all because the United States is not a mediator", he said.
"Venezuela will resolve its own internal problems", Ambassador Rafael Ramirez told reporters after the meeting.