Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs: Venezuela Accuses US, Opposition of Planning Coup

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs: Venezuela Accuses US, Opposition of Planning Coup

Article excerpt

U.S. accused of plotting a coup in Venezuela

Venezuela is accusing the United States and the country's political opposition of planning a coup for Thursday, the day that government opponents have called for a march to demand a recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro.

The Foreign Ministry's North America agency issued a statement Monday protesting U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby's call for the release of the jailed former mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos, who was moved to prison Saturday.

The socialist government said Ceballos was planning to flee before the Thursday protest in Caracas and carry out violent acts to destabilize the country. The move alarmed the opposition, Washington and human rights groups who consider him a political prisoner.

Venezuela's government has frequently accused Washington of plotting coups. U.S. officials deny the accusations.

Thursday's opposition march will be to pressure authorities to allow a recall referendum to go ahead. A successful "yes" vote this year would cut short Maduro's term and trigger a new election.

The recall effort comes amid daily, blocks-long food lines and inflation topping 700 percent.

Mexico's top police official ousted * Mexico's president dismissed the chief of the federal police force Monday, less than two weeks after the country's human rights commission released a scathing report alleging federal police "executed arbitrarily" at least 22 suspected drug cartel members during a raid on a ranch.

Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said President Enrique Pena Nieto decided to remove Enrique Galindo to allow for a transparent investigation.

"In light of the recent events and on instructions of the president, Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo has been removed from his position," Osorio Chong said.

Earlier this month, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission announced that its investigation found that at least 22 people were killed without justification by police during the operation at a ranch in the western state of Michoacan on May 22, 2015.

Brazil's president makes plea for her job * A defiant Dilma Rousseff delivered what may be her last speech as president of Brazil on Monday, appealing to senators not to vote for her ouster in a controversial impeachment trial that was postponed until the Rio Olympics concluded. …

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