Latin American presidents to discuss Venezuela unrest, Ecuador says

QUITO, (Reuters) – Latin American presidents will meet next week to discuss the unrest in Venezuela that has left at least 20 dead and convulsed the South American OPEC nation, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said late on Thursday.

The presidents, alongside foreign ministers, will gather on Tuesday at a meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) group of Latin American nations in Chile, where the leaders are congregating for the inauguration of President Michelle Bachelet.

“Finally there’s going to be a meeting of Unasur presidents,” Correa said in a televised interview.

He did not say which presidents would attend.

Venezuelan opposition sympathizers have been holding rowdy street protests for nearly a month to demand the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro. They accuse his government of using excessive force against demonstrators.

Maduro says the demonstrations are part of a Washington-backed plot to overthrow his government.

“The truth is that the Venezuelan government is the victim, Nicolas Maduro is a humane person who would be incapable of repressing his own people,” Correa said.

The unrest has been the worst in Venezuela in a decade but does not show any signs of forcing Maduro from office.

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