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Pope calls for calm and dialogue amid Venezuela unrest

Published on Feb 27, 2014 4:38 AM

CARACAS (REUTERS) - Pope Francis called on Wednesday for an end to violence in Venezuela that has killed at least 13 people and urged politicians to take the lead in calming the nation's worst unrest in a decade.

Both political camps were demonstrating in cities around the country. In the capital Caracas, female opposition supporters rallied, while agricultural workers marched to the presidential palace in support of the Socialist government.

Students and other opponents of President Nicolas Maduro are demanding that he quit over grievances including high inflation, shocking levels of violent crime, shortages of basic food, and what they say is his repression of political rivals.

The protests are the biggest challenge to Mr Maduro's 10-month-old administration, although there is no sign they could topple him or affect the OPEC nation's oil shipments.

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