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Venezuela clashes greet Carter

Caracas, Jan. 21 (Reuters): One person was killed and two dozen wounded by gunfire yesterday during street clashes in Venezuela as Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter tried to salvage peace talks between Leftist President Hugo Chavez and his foes, officials said.

Clashes involving police and rival protesters broke out when Chavez supporters attacked an opposition march in Charallave, 50 km south of Caracas.

Initial accounts of casualties were confused. But a civil defense official said one man was shot dead and 24 people were wounded by gunfire in the fighting. It was unclear who had opened fire. Venezuela’s tense, often violent political conflict has intensified during a seven-week-old Opposition strike aimed at pressing Chavez to resign and call elections in the world’s fifth largest oil exporter.

Carter, a former US President on his second visit to Caracas in less than a year, planned to hold meetings with Chavez and the Opposition, who have been locked in a political standoff since April when the Venezuelan leader survived a short-lived coup. “There is always hope for a resolution and I hope that will be soon,” Carter said.

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