Protests continue as Maduro pushes for new constitution

Pro-Democracy demonstrators set Hugo Chavez's childhood home in Barinas on fire and stripped naked a state-run company executive in Puerto Ordaz. And in Caracas, health care workers with the Venezuelan Medical Federation marched to protest medication shortages. 

The 53 deaths linked to the ongoing protests haven't deterred armed socialist civilian militias known as "colectivos." The government's bullets, tear gas canisters, pellets and water canons haven't stopped. And the protesters are still throwing Molotov cocktails. 

Orlando Figuera, 21, was hospitalized after he was reportedly attacked for trying to steal from protesters while shouting he was a "Chavista." President Nicolas Maduro said on his weekly TV program that Figuera suffered stab wounds and burns when he was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

"Votes or bullets? What do people want?" Maduro said on Tuesday outside of the Miraflores presidential palace. 

After nearly two months of demonstrations, the protesters in Venezuela aren't stopping. But neither is Maduro, who accuses President Donald Trump of meddling in his country's affairs.

The socialist leader presented his 540-member "constituent assembly." He said they are tasked with rewriting the constitution in an effort to restructure the electoral system. His opponents said the effort is part of his strategy to solidify his hold on power. 

Protesters have been asking Maduro to step down. Aside from the lack of medicines, they say they are tired of the food shortages, the rising inflation, the government-controlled media, the crime rate and the corruption. 

One of the hopes of Maduro's opposition is that the protests will send a message loud enough to divide the armed forces. Meanwhile, human rights groups warn of a growing number of political prisoners and the use of military tribunals to convict and sentence civilians. 

Local 10 News Andrea Torres contributed to this story from Miami. 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.