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Venezuela braces for more violence - but it could work in Maduro's favour | World news | theguardian.com

Week-long protests in Venezuela turned violent on Wednesday leaving three people dead, more than 20 injured, and the president, Nicolás Maduro, struggling to restrain mounting discontent among opposition groups and radical elements of his Chavista movement.

Initially sparked by unrest over soaring inflation, rising crime and the arrests of student protesters, the demonstrations in Merida, Tachira and Anzoategui have escalated into deadly clashes between opposition activists and pro-government Chavista militias known as colectivos.

The president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said the first killing was of a colectivo member in downtown Caracas during an opposition march.

Cabello blamed the opposition for the murder and assured the colectivos that those responsible would feel the full weight of the law. But tellingly, he also appealed to the armed groups not to take matters into their own hands. "Remain calm and sane," he urged in a televised address. "We ask you to trust us."

In the short term, the protests pose little threat to Maduro's government, but analysts see increasing confusion as armed militias enter the fray. Any loss of control over armed supporters could pose a bigger threat than the fragmented opposition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:44:40 PM EST
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