Venezuela accuses US of seeking to fund violence

14th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Venezuela's chief prosecutor on Friday accused Washington of seeking to stoke violence in her country, after US lawmakers called for funding for activist groups there.

"There's no doubt that this is to fund the violent actions taking place in Venezuela," Luisa Ortega Diaz told reporters in Geneva.

Diaz said the money would be used to buy C4, a kind of explosive. She had said earlier that authorities had seized a kilo of C4, 200 fire-bombs and 25 firearms during a wave of protests in Venezuela.

Speaking on the sidelines of the session of the UN Human Rights Council, she said any individual receiving foreign money to fund political activity would face punishment.

On Thursday, US senators tabled a bipartisan law to pave the way for sanctions against Venezuelan authorities involved in human rights abuses and unlock $15 million (10.8 million euros) in funding for organisations defending rights, journalists, activists and demonstrators facing legal action in the country.

The law could be up for discussion within two weeks at the Senate foreign relations committee.

Ortega Diaz said that "the United States act like the world's policeman".

"Who gave them the authority to sanction countries? Are they the world's court?" she said.

"If that's how it is, I'll sanction the United States for violating human rights in Guantanamo, for invading Vietnam and Afghanistan, for human rights abuses in South America and Central America, for the coup in Chile, in Nicaragua," she said.

Venezuela has been rocked by a wave of anti-government protests that first erupted on February 4 in the western city of San Cristobal. They reached the capital Caracas on February 12, when three people were killed in clashes with security forces.

The demonstrations have been fuelled by public fury over deteriorating living conditions in the oil-rich South American country.

Violent crime, inflation and shortages of essential goods have combined to create the most serious challenge yet for leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro has dubbed the protests an attempted coup stoked by the United States.

Since the protests began, opposition leaders and students, as well as government authorities, have accused each other of backing radical groups that attack demonstrations with firearms.

On Thursday, Ortega Diaz said that 28 people had been killed and 365 injured in the protests.

© 2014 AFP

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