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In Venezuela, soldiers arrested for criticising Maduro

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

Eighty-five Venezuelan military officers have been arrested for criticizing the government of embattled leader Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Friday.

“There is discontent in the armed forces,” Capriles said, adding that he had been told about the number of arrests by the military directly, who asked him to make the information public.

In total, 37 people have died and around 800 have been injured in fighting in the country between security forces and protesters since the start of April.

Venezuela, despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, is facing the worst economic crisis in its history with the population suffering severe food and medicine shortages amid triple-digit inflation.

The opposition, which won parliamentary elections at the end of 2015, is demanding a presidential election and for Maduro, whom they accuse of trying to create a dictatorship, to step down.

The military remains a crucial factor in the conflict and it is feared that they could, in time, launch a putsch.

Maduro has tried to increase his influence over it via financial assistance to the armed forces and by allowing 11 military personnel to become federal ministers.

 

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