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Maduro Blames Opposition for Protest Deaths

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has blamed his political rivals for the deaths in the massive protests

TODAY VENEZUELA – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro suggested Thursday opposition could be behind the rising death toll from protests that have engulfed the nation since early April.

“Yesterday [Wednesday], a young worker died in Merida. He is of no interest to right-wing media, he died by a bullet fired by a sniper that the Democratic Unity Roundtable [opposition coalition] placed around the country to kill people,” Maduro said, as quoted by the Globovision television network.

Anderson Dugarte died after suffering a gunshot wound at a rally in the state of Merida on Monday. Another protester, identified as Miguel Castillo, was lethally shot on Wednesday in a Caracas district, bringing total deaths to 39. Maduro said the lead bullet could only be fired from a homemade gun.

The oil-rich South American nation has suffered from an economic meltdown triggered by a slump in oil prices that caused shortages in basic consumer goods. The opposition blames President Maduro for the crisis and has been calling for an early election.

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