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nicolas maduro suspension


Thousands of protesters took the streets in Venezuela to march against the banning from politics of opposition leader Henrique Capriles for 15 years.

In the capital, Caracas, police used tear gas to prevent demonstrators reaching the offices of the national ombudsman.

April 8 protest came after a week of anti-government demonstrations.

They were initially sparked by a Supreme Court ruling to curb the powers of the national assembly, a move which was later overturned.

Security police fired tear gas on one major avenue in Caracas while in the city of San Cristobal they shot rubber bullets towards protestors.

Many demonstrators carried signs reading “No to dictatorship!” and “Capriles for President”.

Image source Flickr

In the Caracas protest there was a moment of silence in memory of a young man shot dead on April 6 by police during demonstrations.

Henrique Capriles has been at the forefront of demands for a recall referendum on President Nicolas Maduro.

A former presidential candidate who has run twice, Henrique Capriles is seen as the oppositions’ best hope of defeating Nicolas Maduro in elections scheduled for next year.

The ruling by the Venezuelan comptroller said the ban on Henrique Capriles was due to “administrative irregularities” in his role as governor.

He is the latest in a series of prominent opposition politicians to be put out of action.

Two years ago, Maria Corina Machado, a former congresswoman was banned from office as was a former mayor, Daniel Ceballos.

In 2015, another prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison on charges of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Venezuelans are dealing with the effects of a harsh economic crisis that has millions skipping meals, unable to afford soaring prices for basic goods and facing long lines for scarce products.

President Maduro’s socialist government have said that a US-backed business elite is responsible for Venezuela’s economic downturn and that it is trying to organize a coup to impose right-wing rule.


Leaders of the Venezuelan opposition have accused the government of staging a coup by blocking their drive to hold a referendum on removing President Nicolas Maduro from office.

Henrique Capriles called for nationwide protests next week.

Election officials had suspended a petition needed to organize the referendum.

The move stopped the recall vote that polls said the government would lose.

Henrique Capriles said the coup “had been carried out against all Venezuelans”.

Henrique Capriles has told a crowd of supporters not to feel intimidated and to vote in upcoming local elections

The opposition figurehead said in the protests, called for October 26: “We will take Venezuela from end to end. The whole people will be mobilized to restore constitutional order.”

Earlier the opposition said a court order had barred eight of them from leaving the country.

Reasons for the ban were not given but the council had said fraud had been reported in the referendum process.

The Venezuelan opposition had planned to secure the required signatures for the recall vote next week.

Another of the banned leaders, opposition coalition leader Jesus Torrealba, said: “It’s gratuitous aggression. We are the majority, in the street and in Congress.

“They cannot postpone the change that the country is demanding.”

The opposition controls Venezuela’s Congress but says Nicolas Maduro has power over key institutions such as the electoral authorities and the courts.

The government has accused the opposition of inventing names on the first of two petitions required to endorse the recall vote.

Nicolas Maduro said there had been “a gigantic fraud”, adding: “Their cheating is coming out.”

Diosdado Cabello, also of Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist Party, said: “We hope justice will be served and that those responsible for this swindle will be detained.”

The decision to suspend the referendum process came despite intense international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro from the US and other Latin American countries to allow it to go ahead.