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Saturday, May 14, 2016

U.S. concern grows over possible Venezuela meltdown - officials

A riot policeman fires into the air during clashes with opposition supporters at a rally demanding a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A riot policeman fires into the air during clashes with opposition supporters at a rally demanding a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016.

WASHINGTON The United States is increasingly concerned about the potential for an economic and political meltdown in Venezuela, spurred by fears of a debt default, growing street protests and deterioration of its oil sector, U.S. intelligence officials said on Friday.
    In a bleak assessment of Venezuela's worsening crisis, the senior officials expressed doubt that unpopular leftist President Nicolas Maduro would allow a recall referendum this year, despite opposition-led protests demanding a vote to decide whether he stays in office.

Mobs in Venezuela have stolen flour, chicken and even underwear this week as looting increases across the crisis-hit OPEC nation where many basic products have run short, and the U.S. officials said this could spiral into widespread unrest. READ MORE