Latin American foreign ministers to discuss Venezuela unrest

QUITO Sat Mar 8, 2014 8:51am EST

An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

An anti-government protester throws a gas canister back at police during riots at Altamira square in Caracas March 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

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QUITO (Reuters) - Latin American foreign ministers will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, diplomatic sources said on Friday.

The officials will gather on Tuesday at a meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) group of Latin American nations in Chile, where the leaders are congregating for the inauguration of President Michelle Bachelet.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said late on Thursday that the bloc's presidents would meet. Diplomatic sources said, however, that foreign ministers would meet instead.

Venezuelan opposition sympathizers have been holding rowdy street protests for nearly a month to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro. They accuse his government of using excessive force against demonstrators.

Maduro says the demonstrations are part of a Washington-backed plot to overthrow his government.

"The truth is that the Venezuelan government is the victim, Nicolas Maduro is a humane person who would be incapable of repressing his own people," Correa said in a TV interview.

The unrest has been the worst in Venezuela in a decade, but does not show any signs of forcing Maduro from office, nor of affecting the country's crucial oil exports.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito, Guido Nejamkis in Buenos Aires, and Jeferson Ribeiro in Brasilia; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sophie Hares and Dan Grebler)

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Comments (1)
The American administration is attempting to do in Venezuela what America did in Chile in 1973 when the democratically elected socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende died in a CIA-sponsored military coup.
Until the coup, the President Richard Nixon administration, like the Obama administration today and the Bush administration immediately beforehand in Venezuela, clandestinely funded independent and non-state media and labor unions, provided support to two truckers’ strikes that had a devastating effect in 1972 and 1973 on Chile’s economy as the CIA passed money on to private-sector groups, which in turn, with the agency’s knowledge, funded a long nationwide truckers strike.
Covertly, the CIA gave nearly $2 million to opposition parties in 1971 and 1972 (a huge amount of money back then); financed anti-Allende media; and encouraged and bankrolled labor strikes against the government.
The trucker strike lasted until the very end without a single moment of relief because it was financed with cash from outside. “The CIA flooded the country with dollars to support the strike by the bosses and . . . foreign capital found its way down into the formation of a black market,” say several accounts. One week before the coup, oil, milk and bread had run out.

Mar 09, 2014 1:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
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