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Maduro Cries Coup as Venezuela Toll Hits 13

Maduro accuses opposition of plotting with US to oust him
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2014 2:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Protesters trying to force out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have blocked main roads in Caracas with burning barricades to try and ban access to the capital, reports the BBC. At least 13 people have now been killed in the wave of opposition protests, and hardline demonstrators in the capital and around the country say they won't quit until Maduro is out of office. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has urged supporters not to follow calls for a "national blockade," but he has demanded the release of jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez and other demonstrators, as well as the disarming of pro-government gangs—including the motorcycle gangs blamed for some protesters' deaths.

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Amid the country's worst unrest in a decade, Capriles rejected an invitation to meet Maduro, reports Reuters. "This is a dying government ... I'm not going to be like the orchestra on the Titanic," he said. The presidential palace "is not the place to talk about peace, it's the center of operations for abuses of human rights." Maduro—whose government revoked the credentials of CNN's reporters over its coverage of the unrest—accuses the opposition of planning a Washington-backed coup. (Read more Henrique Capriles Radonski stories.)

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