Venezuelans are blocking highways and taking to the streets in response to an apparent Coup d’Etat.Though Maduro’s regime arranged anti-riot measures in several Venezuelan cities, hundreds of Venezuelans turned out to express their opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling that dissolved the powers of the country’s congress.Caracas, Los Teques, Vargas, Carabobo and Anzoátegui are just some of the states where protests are taking place.In Urbina, Caracas — a popular area that has traditionally been faithful to Chavez — is now flooded with protesters.“No more dictatorship,” they are reportedly chanting. “We want freedom.”
The besieged leftist government of Venezuela is under mounting pressure after the United States and 13 of the hemisphere’s other leading nations demanded the release of political prisoners and other pro-democracy concessions.The Organization of American States, the region’s main collective body, has threatened to suspend Venezuela because of what it called the autocratic repression imposed by President Nicolas Maduro.Maduro’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, will appear Monday before an OAS panel in Washington to plead her government’s case. This comes after members of the Venezuelan delegation stormed out of OAS meetings last week, according to diplomats.OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, in a report on Venezuela, noted that Maduro canceled both a referendum that could have recalled his government and later regional elections, after the opposition made huge gains in parliamentary voting in 2015. A Maduro-controlled Supreme Court then stripped the parliament of much of its power.In addition, thousands of people have been arrested for their political beliefs, Almagro said, including opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been in jail for three years.The OAS is demanding Venezuela hold elections or risk suspension from the group, a drastic measure. The last time a country was suspended was when the military and right-wing politicians staged a coup against the elected president in Honduras in 2009.Under OAS regulations, a country can be suspended when the “democratic order” is “altered.”
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