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Venezuela opposition banned from running in 2018 election

Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, says the country’s main opposition parties are banned from taking part in next year’s presidential election. He said only parties which took part in Sunday’s mayoral polls would be able to contest the presidency. Leaders from the Justice First, Popular Will and Democratic Action parties boycotted the vote and said the electoral system is biased. President Maduro insists the Venezuelan system is entirely trustworthy. In a speech on Sunday, he said the opposition parties had “disappeared from the political map”. “A party that has not participated…

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Venezuela unveils virtual currency amid economic crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the creation of a new virtual currency in a bid to ease the country’s economic crisis. He said the Petro would be backed by Venezuela’s oil, gas, gold and diamond wealth. Opposition MPs, however, poured scorn on the plan. Venezuela’s economy has been hit by falling oil revenue and the plummeting value of its existing currency, the bolivar. President Maduro has also railed against US sanctions which he describes as a “blockade”. In a televised announcement on Sunday, Mr Maduro said the new crypto-currency…

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Venezuela crisis: Latin Americans condemn Trump over 'military response'

Media playback is unsupported on your device The South American trading bloc Mercosur has condemned President Trump for saying he was considering military action in the Venezuela crisis. Argentina said dialogue and diplomacy were the only ways to promote democracy in Venezuela. Venezuela’s foreign minister said Mr Trump’s words had been hostile and disrespectful and risked destablising Latin America. Violent demonstrations since April have left more than 120 people dead. President Nicolas Maduro’s new constituent assembly – which can rewrite the constitution and could override the opposition-controlled parliament – has…

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Venezuela searches for rebels after deadly clash at army base

Media playback is unsupported on your device A search is under way in Venezuela for 10 men who escaped with weapons after an attack on a military base, President Nicolás Maduro says. The assault in the north-western city of Valencia was carried out by 20 people, he said. Two were killed, one was injured and seven were arrested. Earlier, a video posted on social media showed uniformed men saying they were rising against a “murderous tyranny”. Despite the incident, the situation appears to be calm in the country. On state…

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Venezuela prosecutor Luisa Ortega condemns office 'siege'

Venezuelan security forces have surrounded the public prosecutor’s office in Caracas in what the chief prosecutor has called a “siege”. It came a day after the embattled government inaugurated a new legislative body, the 545-member constituent assembly. Chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega had asked a local court to halt the inauguration. She cited allegations that the government had misrepresented the results of the vote that created it. “I reject the siege of the headquarters of the public prosecutor’s office,” Ms Ortega, a leading critic of President Nicolas Maduro, wrote on Twitter…

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Venezuela vote: Turnout figure 'tampered with'

Turnout numbers for Sunday’s controversial vote in Venezuela were “tampered with”, the company running the polling has alleged. The CEO of Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica, made the comments at a press conference in London. Venezuela’s electoral authorities said the turnout for the elections for a new constituent assembly had been 41.5%. But the opposition said the figures had been inflated. “It is with the deepest regret that we have to report that the turnout numbers on Sunday 30th July for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela were tampered with,” Mr Mugica said….

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Woman, 61, shot dead in Venezuela voting queue

Media playback is unsupported on your device A nurse aged 61 has been shot dead while waiting to vote in an unofficial, opposition-organised referendum in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. Men on motorbikes fired at a queue, killing her and wounding three others. The opposition blamed a “paramilitary” gang. Video from the scene showed people rushing away from the gunshots. Many fled to a church. Venezuela is in crisis, and more than 100 people have died in political clashes since April. Opposition spokesman Carlos Ocariz said of the shooting: “We lament this…

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