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Venezuela Defies International Powers, Trump Weighs In


The following is an excerpt from AFP.com | April 27, 2017 |

Venezuela defied international pressure over its deadly political crisis Thursday as European lawmakers accused its government of "brutal repression" and US President Donald Trump called the country "a mess."

Nearly a month of clashes at anti-government protests have left 28 people dead, according to prosecutors.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday raised the ante in his row with foreign powers that he accuses of plotting to overthrow him.

His government announced it was launching the two-year process to pull out of the Organization of American States, a key regional diplomatic grouping whose secretary general Luis Almagro has branded Maduro a dictator.

- OAS branded 'traitors' -

The move was a defiant show of force in a mounting crisis for Maduro, whose center-right opponents blame him for the country's economic collapse. They want elections to remove Maduro, whose current terms runs through the end of next year.

"Today is a day of victory for Venezuela. Today we awake freer and more independent," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told a news conference on Thursday.

She dismissed the organization as "a band of traitors intending to intervene" in the country.

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