The Latest: Venezuela UN diplomat calls on Maduro to resign
Jul. 21, 2017
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela's political crisis and the opposition's general strike (all times local):
A Venezuelan diplomat to the United Nations is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to resign immediately.
Isaias Medina said in an interview with The Associated Press Thursday that he decided to break with the government and resign shortly after a wave of political unrest began in early April.
He made the decision official in a letter and video shared widely on social media Thursday harshly criticizing Maduro.
Medina says he could no longer tolerate the "incoherent" actions of a government advocating for human rights and violating them at the same time.
More than 90 people have been killed during near-daily demonstrations demanding new presidential elections.
Medina is among the few Venezuelan officials outside the opposition-controlled National Assembly who have broken ranks with Maduro's government.
A high-ranking Venezuelan official is condemning a U.N. diplomat who says he has resigned from President Nicolas Maduros government because of the administration's widespread human rights violations.
Rafael Ramirez said on Twitter Thursday that Isaias Medina has acted dishonestly and been removed from his post.
In a video and a letter posted online, a man who identifies himself as Medina announces his resignation and says he cannot be part of a government that attacks protesters, censors the media and detains political prisoners.
The authenticity of the letter and video could not be independently confirmed, but the footage is consistent with prior photos of Medina.
Medina could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press.
Venezuela's chief prosecutor has confirmed a second death in protests against the government Thursday.
The prosecutor's office said 23-year-old Andres Uzcategui was killed in a protest in the working-class neighborhood of La Isabelica in the central state of Carabobo. At least nine people were hurt in protests, the prosecutor's office said. No further details were provided.
The slaying drives the death toll over nearly months of protests to at least 95.
Venezuela's chief prosecutor says she is investigating the death of a 24-year-old man in a protest on the outskirts of Caracas Thursday, driving the death toll in more than three months of anti-government protests to at least 94.
Ronney Eloy Tejera Soler was killed in the Los Teques neighborhood during a protest, the prosecutor said in a statement.
The statement said Tejera was shot, but it did not say by whom. It said another three people were wounded in the incident.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is decrying a general strike by the opposition as a crude attempt to sabotage the embattled country's economy.
Maduro also is denouncing what he characterizes as an opposition attack outside the offices of VTV, Venezuela's state broadcaster.
Protesters and pro-government forces threw rocks at one another while national guardsmen launched tear gas and rubber bullets.
Maduro told supporters he'll press ahead with plans to rewrite the nation's constitution and said that hundreds of Venezuela's largest companies are functioning "at 100 percent" despite Thursday's strike.
But streets in opposition-friendly neighborhoods in eastern Caracas were almost entirely void of activity. Some businesses remained open in parts of the capital traditionally loyal to the ruling party but foot and vehicle traffic was significantly lower.