Venezuela: Anti-government Protests Takes Three Lives

GM said in a statement issued April 20 that cars and assets were stolen from its plant in Venezuela, which has caused "irreparable damage" to the company and ultimately led to the withdrawl.

General Motors announced that it was shuttering operations in the country after authorities seized the factory on Wednesday.

He says Venezuela's government is not allowing the opposition "to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people".

In the Tachira case, an opposition protester identified as Ivan Pernia has been detained in the shooting death of the young woman, according to VTV.

A demonstrator wearing a gas mask walks engulfed in a cloud of tear gas fired by riot police during an opposition march against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on April 19, 2017.

The protests are expected to be the biggest in three years, putting extra pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to negotiate with the opposition and find a way of easing the country's economic crisis.

At the same time, Maduro has increasingly tightened his grip on government, while blaming capitalists from the United States and Colombia for fueling the crisis and arresting opposition leaders on dubious charges.

As protesters, their eyes red and burning from tear gas, headed home, the opposition called for another round of street demonstrations Thursday. The ballot for state governors has been delayed since previous year and elections authorities have not announced when it will be held.

Authorities say a third person has died overnight in the ongoing protests in Venezuela. They were met by a curtain of tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to march to downtown Caracas. Rights group Penal Forum said more than 500 people were arrested in relation to Wednesday's protest and 334 remained in detention.

More than four in five Venezuelans say they don't earn enough to meet basic needs and three-quarters say they have lost an average of 19 pounds of weight previous year, according to the Encovi survey by Venezuela's top three universities.

"We're convinced the country knows who the true coup mongers are and it's against them we will march tomorrow", the opposition said in a Tuesday late-night statement. Each day, Venezuelans lose more of their democracy, rendering them incapable of resolving the situation on their own as Maduro's government continues to stall free and fair elections.

"The hour of combat has arrived", Maduro said.

Government officials dismiss the protests, characterized by street barricades and clashes with security forces, as violent and lawless efforts to overthrow Maduro's leftist government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington.

The third fatality was a national guardsman killed by a sniper during protests in Miranda state, according to human rights ombudsman Tarek Saab. Fears of a coup Wednesday's rival marches drew parallels to the clashes between pro and anti-government protesters in 2002. Slideshow: Mother of all marches in Venezuela https://t.co/dvWQKn7qLg pic.twitter.com/mShqfTrjBp- Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) 19 avril 2017 Muere abaleada estudiante universitaria durante protestas antigubernamentales en #Venezuela: familiares y testigos pic.twitter.com/xQVRaQzZNJ- Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) 19 avril 2017 How many have died in total??

Even while accusing the United States. of trying to overthrow him, Maduro has been careful not to antagonize the new US president.

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric coming from the government. The U.S. secretary of state says the Trump administration is concerned about the political turmoil in Venezuela and feels socialist President Nicolas Maduro is trying to squash the voice of his opponents.

Vanessa Coleman

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