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OAS bars press for session on Venezuela

The Organization of American States decided Friday to close to the press a session at which a prominent Venezuelan opposition lawmaker was expected to speak to the regional body. The OAS's permanent council voted 22 to 11 in favor of barring the press, with member abstaining. "The objective of this meeting is not to turn itself into a circus for an outside audience as some representatives have shown they want to do," Brazil's ambassador said, explaining his country's vote in favor of closing the session.

Venezuela's U.S. dollar shortage puts health sector in intensive care

By Eyanir Chinea CARACAS (Reuters) - While hemophilia sufferer Sergio Tovar lay in agony for five days at a hospital in Venezuela, his friends and family scoured hospitals and pharmacies looking for life-saving drugs. Eventually a cousin, Jenny Sequeda, helped find a substitute for the protein coagulant Tovar needs for his blood condition. Almost everywhere they went in the southwestern state of Apure it was the same story: a lack of dollars meant importers had stopped purchasing the medicine.

Clashes in Caracas after opposition mayors arrested

Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Caracas on Thursday after a march against the arrest of two opposition mayors accused of failing to stop violence in protests that have rocked Venezuela. Some 3,000 people had rallied against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro before a subgroup of protesters threw rocks at police who responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Opposition mayors arrested in Venezuela

Caracas, Mar 20 (EFE).- Two opposition mayors were arrested for their alleged inaction in the face of violent anti-government protests after a court decision, Venezuela's interior minister said Thursday. "The state entities, and ... not the government, are acting to protect the rights of the majority and not to protect the rights of a small group who wants, under the excuse of the right to protest, to stir up the lives of Venezuelans and strike at the governability necessary in the country," Miguel Rodriguez Torres told reporters.

Venezuelan intelligence arrests opposition mayor

Venezuela upped pressure on the opposition Wednesday after weeks of protests, arresting the mayor of the town where they started and seeking a probe of a prominent anti-government lawmaker. Authorities said the death toll from the protests rose to at least 30 after a policeman died trying to break up a protest in the western city of San Cristobal, where the demos began February 4. They later spread to Caracas and many other cities, although they are now losing intensity.

Venezuela arrests two opposition mayors

Venezuela upped pressure on the opposition Wednesday after weeks of protests, arresting two mayors including one in the town where they started and seeking a probe of a prominent anti-government lawmaker. Authorities said the death toll from the protests rose to at least 30 after a policeman died trying to break up a protest in the western city of San Cristobal, where the demos began February 4. They later spread to Caracas and many other cities, although they are now losing intensity.

Venezuela slums shun protests for community work

By Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Opposition activists in the slums of eastern Caracas hope to unseat President Nicolas Maduro, but not by blocking streets or burning tires. They plan to build parks and fix roads to show that the opposition can do more for poor neighborhoods than the ruling socialists. The capital's slums have seen hardly a trace of the smoldering barricades and violent demonstrations that have engulfed middle-class areas for over a month in the South American OPEC nation's worst unrest for a decade.

Venezuelan Congress seeks probe of opposition leader over protests

By Brian Ellsworth and Esteban Israel CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Congress on Tuesday requested a criminal investigation of opposition deputy Maria Corina Machado for crimes including treason in relation to her involvement in anti-government protests that have left dozens dead. Machado, a 46-year-old engineer, has been one of the most visible leaders in six weeks of opposition demonstrations against socialist President Nicolas Maduro that have unleashed the country's worst unrest in a decade.

Detained Venezuela activist calls for more protests

A Venezuelan opposition leader jailed for a month urged supporters Tuesday to maintain their fight against socialist President Nicolas Maduro's protest-hit government. As the size of demonstrations seemed to start to wane, Leopoldo Lopez said in a handwritten letter from detention: "I send my deepest admiration of the Venezuelan people for its peaceful protest on the streets.

Capriles not linked to violence, Venezuelan gov't says

Caracas, Mar 18 (EFE).- Two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles was not part of the political violence "coordinated" by two other leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said Tuesday. Citing an unnamed informant, the minister told state television that Capriles rejected the plans hatched by Leopoldo Lopez and lawmaker Maria Corina Machado.
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