Anti-government students hold a protest in Caracas on February 16, 2014Protests against Venezuela’s government showed no sign of abating, as the fugitive opposition leader whom President Nicolas Maduro blames for sowing unrest broke his silence to urge another demonstration. The demonstrations have developed into the biggest challenge to the country’s socialist rulers since the death of its longtime leader Hugo Chavez from cancer last year. Venezuela, the OPEC member with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, remains mired in a deepening economic crisis that critics blame on policies that Maduro largely inherited from Chavez. Maduro, an elected socialist whom Chavez handpicked as his successor, has so far failed to put down the threat and on Sunday he hit back at criticism from his predecessor’s sworn-foe the United States, saying he would expel three US consular officials.