Relatives of jailed Venezuelan dissident seek global action

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"We must stop ignoring the just cry of the people suffocated by an intolerable crisis", said Dudamel, who is serving as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's musical director. They are demanding elections to remove the leftist president.

The state prosecutor's office, which keeps an official count of deaths since protests began last month, said another 717 people have been injured and 152 are still in jail from the hundreds rounded up in widespread unrest around the volatile South American nation of 30 million people.

Demonstrators hold placards that read "No more repression" during a women's march to protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, May 6, 2017.

Maduro's government has invited the opposition alliance, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to a meeting on May 8, in which "the motivation of the presidential initiative" will be official presented to the National Constituent Assembly.

Maduro himself has created a "digital militia" to sign up citizens in the street for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and encourage them to circulate pro-government messages.

"The crisis is deepening by the day and Venezuela is plunging more into anarchy", Capriles told Al Jazeera. In a statement, Haley has accused Maduro of "disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people", which has resulted into the "heightened the political and economic crisis in the country".

"They are taking advantage of the protests to go out and rob", said Magaly Oliveros, a 64-year-old housewife in Valencia.

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The family's lawyers said Friday that at least two opposition leaders with Spanish passports are being held in Venezuelan prisons in circumstances similar to Lopez's.

Meanwhile, relatives and lawyers of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez want the Red Cross to verify his health and are seeking to bring the government of Maduro before a Spanish Court for alleged crimes of terrorism.

Anger boiled over Friday in the western municipality of Rosario de Perija, where young protesters burned, pulled down and then smashed a statue of late leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro's late predecessor and mentor.

Many Venezuelans are closely watching the armed forces, who have the potential to tip the balance if they disobey government instructions or give Maduro a nudge behind the scenes.

Capriles said the opposition will take no part in the constitutional discussions.

In particular, the legislation calls attention to investments by the Russian energy giant Rosneft in Citgo, the US-based subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA petroleum company, describing the ties as a "significant risk to USA national security and energy security".

Still, one thing has been clear: Opposition activists are deeply opposed to the move, viewing it as, at best, an attempt to distract from the upheaval that's seized the streets of Caracas and other major cities - or at worst, a bald-faced maneuver to shore up dictatorial powers for himself.

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