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Venezuela: rival rallies face off over Maduro's future

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Venezuela: rival rallies face off over Maduro's future

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In Venezuela, there’ve been fresh protests for and against President Nicolas Maduro
as the country’s economic crisis deepens.

Anti-government demonstrators are calling for a referendum to end his socialist rule
and policies that have left many unable to buy basic food and medicine.

“The Venezuelan people want to recall this government, we want to recall hunger, we want to recall misery, we want to recall insecurity, inequality,” said protester Ana Rodriguez.

As many as a million people took to the streets in the capital Caracas last Thursday to call for a poll; this new round of demonstrations drew far fewer but the message against Maduro was loud and clear.

In Maracaibo, Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said their optimism was growing: “In an organized, peaceful and constitutional way, we will achieve change. And change should be made with the recall referendum because it is our constitutional right.”

The government held rival demonstrations in most cities but turnout appeared limited in Caracas, part by rain and perhaps people’s need to queue for food.

“I support my president, (Nicolas) Maduro, because we cannot return to the past with these people who want nothing good for our people,” said government supporter Sorena Gomez.

With the next stage of the referendum process due later this year, the actual plebiscite will almost certainly happen next year.

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