Venezuela chief prosecutor denounces violence as deaths rise

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An expert on Venezuelan politics, with four books on the subject, the latest of which is International Mediation in Venezuela (with Francisco Diez, USIP press, 2011), she is now a Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University, and former director of the Carter Center's Americas Program where she monitored Venezuelan elections and mediated conflicts in that country since 1998.

Protesters sprawled in lawn chairs, worked on math homework and played cards on main roads around Venezuela on Monday as part of a sit-in against the government. Protesters in least a dozen other cities also staged sit-ins Monday, with some building barricades to stop traffic.

A few hours after the OAS announcement, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told state TV that she has been instructed by Maduro to initiate Venezuela's withdrawal from the regional group if a foreign ministers meeting is called without his government's backing.

Trying to keep the pressure on Maduro, the opposition Democratic Unity coalition is planning a march on Wednesday towards downtown Caracas.

After four weeks of protest, anti-government Venezuelans have settled in for a long standoff with President Nicolas Maduro. "Politics should not lead us to war".

Although more deaths have been reported by political activists and Venezuelan media, those have not been confirmed.

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The latest protests began when the pro-government Supreme Court assumed the powers of the opposition-controlled Congress.

The opposition blames Maduro for the unraveling of the oil giant's once-booming economy, leaving the country with critical shortages of food, medicine and basic goods.

Rodriguez said the pressure being brought by the US on some of its traditional allies like Haiti to punish Venezuela was considerable.

The U.S.is especially anxious about Caracas' supply of the Igla-S, the Russian version of the U.S. -made Stinger missile.

Addressing supporters and singing revolutionary ballads earlier in the day, Maduro showed no intent to tone down his combative rhetoric, saying he was willing to do whatever it took, "even give my life", to pursue socialist policies that he said are meant to help and protect the nation's working class. "The victory of the revolution".

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