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5 dead, 400 arrested in riots for food in Venezuela

By Shawn Price
5 dead, 400 arrested in riots for food in Venezuela
Violence in Venezuela continues as residents protest and loot grocery stores over severe food shortages. As many as five people have died and 400 arrested during the violence. Protesters also attacked the headquarters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has blamed the U.S. for his country's problems.

CARACAS, Venezuela, June 16 (UPI) -- At least three people are dead and 400 have been arrested in protests and looting over food shortages, Venezuelan officials said Wednesday.

The crisis started Sunday after two people were shot dead and another died of a heart attack while looting a store, said Milagros Paz, who represents the district. A ruling party official said the deaths were not connected to the protests.

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Residents have begun protesting in the streets, looting grocery stores and shops this week in Cumaná, the capital of Sucre, as well as other cities in the area over severe food shortages and lack of other necessities.

A teen was the latest fatality in city of Merida on Wednesday after he was shot during a looting.

Violence is spreading across the country as anger and deperation grow. Protesters have also attacked the headquarters of President Nicolas Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV.

The protests and looting grow as U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced on Tuesday his representatives will be working with Venezuelan officials to improve relations.

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Maduro has said his country is the victim of a U.S.-promoted economic war, but the U.S. State Department pointed out that violence in Venezuela is a security threat to the entire region.

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