Venezuelan president braced for protests as political crisis deepens

imageVenezuela’s political crisis has deepened after the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, predicted that the opposition-controlled parliament would soon “disappear” while his political rivals prepared for a day of protests in the capital to demand a recall vote. Both sides have intensified the rhetoric as they vie for control of a country wracked by food shortages, looting, power cuts, spiralling violence, a shrinking economy and the world’s highest rate of inflation. Maduro, who says the country’s problems are the result of a plot by rightwingers and foreign interests to destabilise the country and end his rule, decreed a state of emergency on Friday. But parliament refused to pass it, with opposition leaders instead pushing for a referendum to recall Maduro for mismanagement. They have collected enough signatures to trigger a broader recall petition under the constitution, but the president dismissed the referendum as “optional”. Read Article

Venezuelan police fire teargas at protesters as national crisis intensifies