What is the story behind the protests in Venezuela?

World Today

A demonstrator sits on a discarded stove at a barricade, during a national sit-in against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 15, 2017. Opposition leaders are demanding immediate presidential elections. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Chaos erupted in Venezuela this week during another round of protests against the socialist government, with buildings set afire, tear gas canisters lobbed back and forth, and at least three new deaths reported.

The unrest is taking a mounting toll as Venezuela’s opposition vows to step up near-daily demonstrations and Maduro shows no intention of conceding to opponents’ demands. More than three dozen people have been killed, including a national guardsman and a police officer. As many as 2,000 have been detained in nearly seven weeks of protests.

What is behind the crisis in Venezuela-

Chaos erupted in Venezuela this week during another round of protests against the socialist government, with buildings set afire, tear gas canisters lobbed back and forth, and at least three new deaths reported.

International pressure on the troubled South American nation is also increasing, with the Organization of American States voting Monday to hold a rare foreign ministers’ meeting later this month to discuss the crisis. The Washington-based group only convenes such meetings to address most urgent affairs.

The embattled Venezuelan president has vowed to resolve his nation’s crisis by convening a special assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution, while the opposition is demanding that a new presidential election be held immediately.

Polls indicate the great majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone as violent crime soars and the country falls into economic ruin, with triple-digit inflation and shortages of many basic foods and medical supplies.

The wave of protests was set off by a government move to nullify the opposition-controlled congress in late March, but the demonstrations have morphed into a general airing of grievances against the unpopular socialist administration amid worsening economic problems and rising crime.

Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said Monday that the opposition would take its protests “to the next stage” as Maduro continues his push to rewrite the nation’s constitution.

“We are against this fraudulent process,” Capriles said on his radio broadcast.

Story by The Associated Press