Two-day national strike turns deadly in Venezuela

U.S. hits 13 Venezuelan socialists with sanctions

CARACAS, Venezuela – A 30-year-old man died during a protest Wednesday in Venezuela's town of Ejido, according to the South American country's chief prosecutor.

The death of Rafael Antonio Vergara was the first reported during the two-day general strike against President Nicolas Maduro's effort to rewrite the constitution. Authorities are preparing to hold a Sunday election of the members of the constituent assembly. 

Democrats view Maduro's effort as a strategy to consolidate power for a Cuban-style socialist regime and weaken the Democratically-controlled National Assembly. Maduro claims rewriting the constitution will help get the country out of its crisis. 

Nearly four months of protests began after the Supreme Court justices loyal to Maduro ruled to take power away from the assembly and later reversed their decision.  At least 98 deaths are linked to the protests. 

Maduro's opponents blame the violence on the harsh tactics of the National Guard and the paramilitary force known as the "colectivos." Maduro blames the violence on vandals, terrorists and traitors who are part of a U.S. plot to challenge the country's sovereignty. 

The U.S. Treasury froze the assets of 13 Maduro loyalists and banned U.S. companies from doing business with them. During a Wednesday afternoon ceremony, Maduro awarded the 13 with replicas of Simon Bolivar's sword. 


#ULTIMOMINUTO presencia del Sebin en 5 de Julio #ReporteDel11 #26Jul #venezuela #zulia #AsiVaElParo

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