Venezuelan opposition plans to block roads, stage silent processions

Venezuelan opposition plans to block roads, stage silent processions

On Thursday, General Motors, which has been in Venezuela for 35 years, said it was ceasing business in the country after the government seized one of its factories.

The State Department said Thursday it was reviewing details of the GM case but called on Venezuelan authorities to act swiftly and transparently to resolve the dispute.

"Yesterday, GMV's (General Motors Venezolana) plant was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations".

Hundreds of workers desperate for information about their jobs gathered at the plant on Thursday to meet with government and military officials, as well as representatives of the dealership that brought the lawsuit.

On Thursday, Maduro said the opposition was ready to begin a political dialogue, which his opponents denied.

Movistar and Telefonica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The government and its supporters blame imperialist forces led by the United States for the dismal state of the economy and say they are victims of an "economic war" being waged against them.

The demonstrations are a way of "telling ourselves, the whole world, and those who hold power in Venezuela, that we [the opposition] are an incontrovertible majority", Borges said. "We continue to work with the Venezuelan government to seek solutions to convert currency".

The European Union is calling for an investigation into the deaths and other violence during anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela and for those responsible to be held accountable.

That sets the stage for prolonged disruption in volatile Venezuela, where security forces have been blocking rallies this month and protests have dissolved into clashes with rock-throwing youth.

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Indeed, it is unclear just how many of those consent decrees already finalized could be affected by the Sessions-ordered reviews. Almost all residents who testified Thursday voiced strong support for the consent decree and urged the judge to sign it swiftly.

"It fits a broader pattern, in the sense that the government's response to surges in opposition activity tends to be the deepening of the revolution", said Phil Gunson, a Venezuela-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, using the government's term for its socialist makeover of Venezuelan society.

Polls say 75 percent of Venezuelans want Maduro gone, but about 20 percent support him.

Eight people have died so far in demonstrations over the past several weeks. GM said assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing the company irreparable damage.

Auto manufacturing virtually has come to a halt in Venezuela in a broader economic collapse under Maduro.

As protests and looting continued into the night following another day of clashes between police and demonstrators in the capital, the government and opposition traded blows over the events at the maternity hospital.

It added that the seizure was arbitrary and that it would vigorously take all legal action, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.

GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it's been the market leader for over 35 years.

The third fatality was a National Guard sergeant killed overnight when his squad was attacked with gunfire while trying to control disturbances in a suburb of Caracas, the chief prosecutor's office said. Pro-government militias, some of whose members were armed, were blamed for the two deaths, including that of a teenager in Caracas who was heading to a soccer game with friends.

"We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday.

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