Venezuela teen dies after shot near protests

A 17-year-old boy died after being shot on Wednesday during massive protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the sixth person killed this month in a mounting political crisis.

The plant in the central city of Valencia was confiscated on Wednesday as anti-government protesters clashed with pro-government groups in a country battered by economic troubles including food shortages and triple-digit inflation.

"This is like a chess game and each side is moving whatever pieces they can", said Machuca, her face covered in a white, sticky substance to protect herself from the noxious effects of tear gas.

So far, there have been no confirmed reports of fatalities during the protests.

But the Trump administration has recently stepped up criticism of Venezuela's government.

The president also signed orders on TV late Tuesday activating the "green phase" of enigmatic military plans to defend Venezuela against what he describes as USA -backed attempts to sow chaos and overthrow him.

The protests are expected to be the biggest in three years, putting extra pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to negotiate with the opposition and find a way of easing the country's economic crisis.

"We are extremely concerned that Rosneft's control of a major U.S. energy supplier could pose a grave threat to American energy security", the six senators wrote in an April 4 letter to the U.S. Treasury secretary. "We're watching it closely and working with others.to communicate those concerns".

Capriles is among the leaders organizing Wednesday's "Mother of All Protests", meant to bring together the anti-socialist opposition throughout the country to demand Maduro step down.

"I am motivated by the hunger that we are going through ..." National Guard troops fired tear gas, and a teenage boy died after being shot in the head.

Brian Ellsworth of Reuters, speaking to us by Skype from Caracas, said tensions have been building.

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There aren't many reasons to sing and dance in Venezuela today.

A short block away, a sea of red-shirted government supporters marched by calmly, some dancing to a salsa band that tried to provide an air of normalcy to the otherwise tense political standoff that has paralyzed Venezuela the past few weeks.

A demonstrator wearing a gas mask walks engulfed in a cloud of tear gas fired by riot police during an opposition march against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on April 19, 2017. The court - stacked with appointees of Maduro and Chavez - reversed its position in the wake of domestic and global outcries about an attempted power grab.

Maduro, who says recent protests have been little more than opposition efforts to foment violence and topple his government, has called on sympathizers of the ruling Socialist Party to hold a competing march in Caracas.

Unidad Venezuela, a coalition of opposition parties, also organized marches in each of the country's 24 states.

Demonstrators also gathered on Wednesday in the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz, home to Venezuela's struggling state-run mining companies, and the oil city of Maracaibo.

"I've just graduated. and what I've got in the bank isn't enough for a bottle of cooking oil", said Gregorio Mendoza, a 23 -year-old engineer in Puerto Ordaz.

"Do not hesitate for a second", he urged Monday.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Tuesday warning that the "international community" would join in any Venezuelan response to the "criminal repression of peaceful democratic activity".

"The use of public forces and arms against demonstrators should only be used after all mechanisms of negotiation are exhausted", Ortega Diaz said in the statement.

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