17-year-old dies during Venezuelan protests

Story highlights

  • 17-year-old hit by a truck and killed during a protest
  • Last week, three anti-government protesters died in clashes in Caracas
  • Young Venezuelans unhappy with the ravaged economy and rising crime

A 17-year-old was hit by a truck and killed during a protest in Carupano, Venezuela, a government official said.

Authorities are investigating the death of Jose Ernesto Mendez, elected official Cesar Rincones said Monday.

For weeks, Venezuela has been mired by deadly protests. Young Venezuelans unhappy with the ravaged economy and rising crime have clashed with security forces, who have fired tear gas and water cannons.

Last week, three anti-government protesters died in confrontations in Caracas.

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The country is grappling with an inflation rate of 56.2%, the highest in the world. Many basic goods are missing from the shelves.

Adding to the tension, authorities have issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopold Lopez on charges including conspiracy and murder in connection with the violence.

And on Monday, the government said three U.S. diplomats have 48 hours to leave the South American country, accusing them of conspiring against its government.

    Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua accused the U.S. officials of using a visa program as a cover to meet with youth organizers at private universities "for training, financing and creating youth organizations through which violence is promoted in Venezuela."

    The State Department fired back, calling that claim "baseless and false" and saying the United States had not yet received any formal notification of the officials' expulsion.

    READ: Venezuela: 9 things to know about the protests

    READ: Venezuelan opposition leader Lopez remains behind bars

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