USA orders Venezuela embassy families out, crisis deepens

USA orders Venezuela embassy families out, crisis deepens

USA orders Venezuela embassy families out, crisis deepens

Protesters on Friday blocked streets in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities in more marches against a controversial vote Sunday that could forma an assembly to rewrite the Constitution.

The opposition vowed to protest through the weekend, raising the spectre of further violence given that the government has banned protests from Friday to Tuesday. Confrontations with security forces, which have left more than 110 dead over the last four months, were relatively modest on Friday amid tropical downpours and a government ban on demonstrations and threats to jail protesters for up to 10 years.

Maduro says the assembly will give power to the people to help Venezuela survive what he says is a US-backed right-wing "coup" plot to topple his socialist government. Maduro have already claimed 113 lives, according to prosecutors - eight of them during a two-day general strike that ended on Thursday. And the crisis is creating fears in neighbouring countries of a refugee crisis, with 150 Venezuelans a day seeking asylum in Brazil alone and an estimated 550,000 living undocumented in Colombia.

REEVES: Maduro's under growing worldwide pressure to call off Sunday's vote.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor is reporting at least 114 deaths in almost four months of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government.

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Opposition parties are also concerned that Maduro will dissolve the National Assembly, which they control, while the constituent assembly does its work, although Maduro has not indicated he would, Main said.

Maduro, who has said that rewriting the constitution is needed to restore order, told a rally for his supporters Thursday in Caracas that he has proposed talks with the opposition.

While it remains hard to estimate how many of Venezuela's 2.8 million state workers will vote, most interviewees said a significant majority probably will, either out of allegiance or out of fear. While Ms. Polga said she was grateful to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland for her statement welcoming the USA sanctions this week, she said the government must "take action". Eric Farnsworth, vice-president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society in Washington, said the vote will be the end of democracy in Venezuela.

While some barricades have been set up in opposition-friendly eastern Caracas, the large crowds seen during previous demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands are largely absent.

It called mass protests for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro branded U.S. sanctions levelled at his regime on Wednesday as "insolent", as pressure piled up on him overseas and at home over his controversial plan to elect a new body to rewrite the constitution.

Nations including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Canada said the vote amounted to a "dismantling of democratic institutionality".

That may have been more of an effort to pressure Maduro than to respond to the country's security situation, which has been challenging for years, said one former senior Central Intelligence Agency official. The decision was quickly reversed but it sparked a protest movement demanding a new presidential election.

Rubio said Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin had been involved in the issue, and that Trump had spoken to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Venezuela this week.

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