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Venezuelans protest against OAS interference

CARACAS, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelans marched en masse against the Organization of American States (OAS) over the weekend, after OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro attempted to sanction Venezuela for allegedly violating human rights laws.

Labor groups, women's groups, indigenous groups and youth activists from the northwest state of Anzoategui to northeast Portuguesa gathered at the city's Plaza Bolivar and demonstrated their support for the ruling socialist party.

The protests coincided with showing a support of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) from the 25 member countries, which wrapped up its seventh summit in Havana, Cuba on Saturday.

The summit issued a special declaration expressing solidarity with the Venezuelan government.

The protesters described the ACS declaration is a "victory" for "new regionalism" movement.

The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela has come under increasing pressure from its political rivals since President Nicolas Maduro came to power in 2013 with a slight win over the Democratic Unity Roundtable, a candidate of the right-wing coalition.

The ACS urged Venezuela's opposing political camps to hold dialogue in order to ease the growing tension.

"Governments of the Caribbean and Latin America have told Almagro that Venezuela must be respected, that Venezuela's problems are resolved by Venezuelans," Jorge Arreaza, minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, said during a demonstration in Caracas.

"What the summit of the ACS achieved is a credible demonstration that Latin America today is different," Selene Estrach of the Venezuelan Ecologist Movement told Xinhua.

The level of integration achieved "cannot be broken easily." Such statements in defense of the sovereignty of other states by blocs such as the ACS have been made possible by the growing unity and integration of regional countries in the past decade and a half, noted Estrach.

Ronmer Canizalez, a member of the PSUV's youth groups, believes the OAS head's criticism against Venezuela is part of a larger push "orchestrated by the United States" against the socialist party and regional progressive governments.

Protests were also organized by the country's seven federations of transport workers.

However, Jesus Blanco Gonzalez, president of the National Association of Transport Workers, said that strikes were not a solution to Venezuela's political and economic crises.

"The solution is to keep working and to invest in the sector. We will contribute to resolving the country's economic situation," said Blanco.

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