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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/18/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Venezuelan president accuses diplomats of conspiracy

In a further test of resolve between the United States and the OPEC-affiliated South American nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro ordered three U.S. diplomatic officials out of his country. The Venezuelan president had accused the officials of conspiring against his government.

Leopoldo López's party, Popular Will, has accused the Maduro government of being responsible for violence during the protests.

Leopoldo López's party, Popular Will, has accused the Maduro government of being responsible for violence during the protests.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/18/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Venezuela, President Maduro, Leopoldo Lopez, conspiracy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. State Department had previously expressed concerns about the state of affairs in Venezuela. Three anti-government protesters died in clashes last week in Caracas. Since the diplomatic expulsions of this past weekend, authorities have issued an arrest warrant for an opposition leader on conspiracy and murder charges.

"We are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding this February 12 protest and by the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the opposition leader Leopoldo Lpez," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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"We join the secretary general of (the Organization of American States) in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the death of peaceful protesters."

In response, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry fired back angrily at the Obama administration.

"The U.S. government is lying when the denounced the arrest of anti- peaceful protesters," the ministry said in a statement. "The world must know that there is sufficient evidence that the groups that have caused violence in recent days are headed by Mr. Leopoldo Lpez."

Lpez's party, Popular Will, has accused the Maduro government of being responsible for violence during the protests.

Lpez, in a recently posted YouTube video called for new anti-government protests, vowing to show his face in front of Venezuela's Justice Ministry and hand over a list of demands from the Venezuelan people to government officials.

"It has been said in recent days that they want to see me held prisoner. I will be there to show my face. I have nothing to be afraid of. I have not committed any crime. I have been a Venezuelan committed to our country, to our people, to our constitution and to our future," he said. "If there is some decision to illegally imprison me, well, I will be there, to assume this persecution and this infamous decision by the state."

Lpez also encouraged protesters to be peaceful and to allow him to walk the final stretch to the ministry alone.

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