US official expresses concern over Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on opposition and pro-government marches in Venezuela (all times local):

5 p.m.

The U.S. secretary of state says the Trump administration is concerned about the political turmoil in Venezuela and feels socialist President Nicolas Maduro is trying to squash the voice of his opponents.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells reporters at the State Department that the U.S. is “concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard.” He says Venezuela’s government is not allowing the opposition “to organize in ways that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people.”

Tillerson says the U.S. is watching the situation closely and is working with others, particularly through the Organization of American States, to communicate its concerns to Venezuela.

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4:35 p.m.

Authorities say a second protester has been killed in anti-government protests taking place across Venezuela.

The 23-year-old woman identified as Paola Ramirez was killed by gunfire from pro-government groups circling protesters in the western city of San Cristobal, the town’s mayor told The Associated Press. There were no other details immediately available.

Earlier, a 17-year-old was pronounced dead at a Caracas hospital after being shot in the head while walking near a protest.

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2:10 p.m.

A Venezuelan teenager who was shot in the head near anti-government protests in the capital has died.

Miguel Salomon is president of the Clinicas Caracas hospital. He says the boy died in the operating room as surgeons attempted to save his life.

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said she is investigating the Wednesday shooting incident amid conflicting reports over the cause of death. Some opponents of President Nicolas Maduro say armed pro-government militias opened gunfire on a crowd of protesters, bu top officials say the boy named Carlos Moreno was assaulted while walking home from a soccer game.

There have been five other deaths nationwide tied to protests that began in early April after the Supreme Court gutted the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers.

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2 p.m.

Venezuela has reiterated to the Organization of American States that it does not recognize the hemispheric group’s resolution saying the South American country had violated constitutional order.

Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada spoke as the opposition and government supporters held dueling marches in Caracas.

Moncada told members of the Washington-based organization that the resolution by the OAS on April 3 was to blame for the violence that occurred at demonstrations in the last two weeks.

The ambassador also accused the United States and OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro of encouraging an overthrow of Venezuela’s socialist government, echoing an earlier accusation by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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12:45 p.m.

A senior diplomatic official for the Western Hemisphere was in Miami condemning the government of…

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