13 Venezuelan government supporters die in bus crash

May 2 (UPI) — Francisco Rangel, the governor of Venezuela’s Bolívar state, said at least 13 people died after a bus full of government supporters, who marched in Caracas for President Nicolas Maduro, crashed.

Rangel told Unión Radio at least 37 people were injured in a collision between two buses in the Anzoátegui state near its border with Bolívar early Tuesday. All victims were returning home from a pro-government march in Caracas, he said.

“They were coming back at dawn … one bus was stopped and another one hit it,” Rangel said.

Rangel said authorities deployed Venezuelan security forces and rescue personnel at 3 a.m. to take the injured to the Ciudad Bolívar hospital. He said those inside the buses worked in factories and in the education sector, adding that they went to Caracas out of a “symptom of love” and not because employers forced their attendance at the Caracas rally.

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Venezuela is facing a political, security and economic crisis in which basic goods such as food and medicine are in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable. Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

The most recent protests in Venezuela began on March 30 after Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, or TSJ, said it would assume the National Assembly’s duties — a ruling it later reversed. The opposition said the TSJ’s move was akin to a coup d’etat in favor of Maduro’s regime.

On Monday, Maduro called for a popular assembly to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution, which the political opposition criticized as a coup d’etat.

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