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Maduro raises Venezuela's minimum wage for third time this year

By Mike Bambach
Maduro raises Venezuela's minimum wage for third time this year
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro participates in a protest in Caracas on March 12. He hiked the nation's minimum wage another 60% on Sunday in response to the country's ongoing economic crisis. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA

April 30 (UPI) -- In response to protests and economic crisis, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raised the nation's minimum wage by another 60 percent on Sunday.

Maduro, who announced the change on his weekly television show, said the raise was the 15th since he took office in 2013 and the third this year.

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Maduro raised the minimum wage by 50 percent in January, and 20 percent in February to battle an escalating economic crisis.

But none of the increases will come close to keeping up with the nation's inflation, which is expected to rise by more than 1,600 percent this year.

Frustrated Venezuelans have lashed out in violent protests, which have killed at least 24 people.

On Sunday, Pope Francis called for an end to the violence.

During his weekly address in St. Peter's Square, he decried a "grave humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population."

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