Several South American presidents will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday in Peru to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela following the disputed election of President Nicolas Maduro, officials said on Wednesday.
Senior government officials did not say if the meeting was being held as a show of support for Maduro, or whether regional leaders wanted to issue a collective call for calm in Venezuela, where protests have flared since Maduro’s narrow win by about 2 percentage points.
Maduro, the chosen successor to deceased former President Hugo Chavez, will be sworn in on Friday.
The governments of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina, among others, have recognized Maduro’s victory, but Washington has not.
The meeting will be held under the umbrella of regional group Unasur in Lima on Thursday evening, senior government officials said. Peru holds the rotating presidency of the group. Unasur election monitors have said Maduro’s win was legitimate.
The presidents of Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil will attend the meeting and other leaders may also participate, officials said.
The outcome of Sunday’s presidential vote has been rejected by his rival, Henrique Capriles, who has alleged thousands of irregularities at polling centers and wants a full audit of the ballots.
Eight people have died in opposition-led protests. The government has accused Capriles of inciting violence, which he has denied.
A Brazilian Indian boy draws on the ground during a protest where Indians from various parts of Brazil occupy the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia April 16, 2013. They are protesting against a proposed constitutional amendment which gives power to Congress, rather than the Executive Branch, to decide on the demarcation of indigenous lands and reserves in Brazil. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A man who was evicted from a former Indian museum testified in a Rio de Janeiro courtroom Sunday. Police evicted dozens of indigenous activists from the abandoned museum to prepare for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Christophe Simon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
An indigenous man wearing face paint and a headdress stood inside an abandoned museum in Rio de Janeiro Thursday. A federal court has ruled that people who have been occupying the building have to leave as the city prepares for the 2014 World Cup. Felipe Dana/Associated Press
A surfer swam at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro Friday. Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
A statement from Christian Aid about the murder of Cícero Guedes. Guedes was the leader of Brazil’s landless peasant movement.
Guedes was shot dead in Rio de Janeiro state while bicycling to his home. He was killed not far from a sugar plant that he had helped occupy along with other landless workers this past November.
An indigenous woman stood in an Indian museum in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. Squatters who have been living in the abandoned museum are protesting against their impending eviction before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A parking lot is planned for the location. Pilar Olivares/Reuters
Participants are hit by colored powder during the “The Color Run” in Rio de Janeiro December 16, 2012. The Color Run is a 5 km race where runners are hit with a powder of different colors at each kilometer they pass. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
A girl peeks up from under a table as indigenous people from several ethnic groups attend a public hearing of the Lower house’s Human Rights Commission at the National Congress in Brasilia December 4, 2012. The indigenous Indians demanded a demarcation of their reserves and a hastening in the processing of their claims with regards to territorial and environmental disputes that were presently being judged by the Supreme Court. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
— Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro’s state security secretary, after investigators in Rio arrested 63 corrupt police officers.
Serginho, identified by local agents as a suspected crack user, sat in a chair during an operation by authorities in Rio de Janeiro to bring addicts to shelters for rehabilitation near the Parque Uniao slum on Wednesday. Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
A Yanomami Indian boy plays as adults gather for a meeting of tribal members from two different villages, in Novo Demini on the border between the states of Amazonas and Roraima, October 14, 2012. Some 150 of the Yanomami met as leaders and government representatives discussed ways to improve their health and education on the 20th anniversary of the creation of their Yanomami Indian Reserve. REUTERS/Odair Leal
Authorities try to clean up city’s drug-riddled favelas in preparation for 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Police in Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have taken control of the crime-infested slums or favelas in a bid to claim back portions of the city controlled by drug gangs, AFP news agency reports.
Police said in a release that the Sunday morning operation in Jacarezinho and Manguinhos favelas took about 20 minutes.
In the Jacarezinho slum, six shots were fired once police arrived, and one suspect was injured while trying to set fire to a barricade meant to keep officers out.
The operation began shortly before 5:00am local time (08:00 GMT) and involved about 800 police in riot gear and 13 armoured personnel carriers.
Heavily armed officers began patrolling the streets as soon as they moved in.
“The situation is calm,” police spokesman Colonel Federico Caldas told local Globo News television.
This area will now become part of a state programme that establishes so-called peacekeeping police units [UPP] in shantytowns previously held by drug traffickers. This is the 29th such unit in Rio de Janeiro.
With the addition of Manguinhos, authorities have deployed 29 of the UPPs in more than 170 local communities, which are now patrolled by more than 6,770 special agents, according to military police statistics.
Authorities in Brazil are trying to take control of and clean up some of the most dangerous areas of the country in preparation for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games of 2016.
Critics say the military style invasions are too heavy-handed, and simply push the drug gangs to other parts of the city.
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