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March 26, 2014

Venezuela Jails Mayor in Opposition Crackdown

by VOA News

Venezuela's Supreme Court has sentenced an opposition mayor to a year in jail for failing to crack down on anti-government protests.

The court ruled late Tuesday San Cristobal Mayor Daniel Ceballos disobeyed an earlier court order to remove barricades set up by protesters demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.

Ceballos has been openly critical of Maduro and supportive of protesters during demonstrations that began early last month.

Authorities have recently targeted opposition leaders across Venezuela.  The Supreme Court sent another opposition mayor to jail last week and Monday parliament stripped an opposition deputy of her seat.

Opposition leaders say the country is sliding into a dictatorship that muzzles dissent and arbitrarily jails elected officials.  

The Maduro government says it is trying to restore public order in the face of demonstrations that have left dozens dead and limited free transit as part of efforts to destabilize the government.