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Tension And Violence In Venezuela Grows Before Controversial Vote

Tension continues to mount in Venezuela as the country prepares for a controversial vote Sunday that could rewrite its constitution.

A new wave of violent clashes between Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators this week added to the growing death toll.

As of Thursday, officials estimate more than 100 people had been killed in the months of political unrest.

The surge in violence prompted the U.S. government to get some of its citizens out of Venezuela.

The State Department issued a travel warning Thursday, citing the country's "social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages."

SEE MORE: US Urges Venezuela To Cancel Vote, Sanctions 13 Officials

The warning also ordered any family members of employees at the U.S. embassy in Caracas, the country's capital, to leave.

The same day, Venezuela's government announced a ban on protests that could "disturb or affect" the upcoming referendum.

But opposition leaders say that won't stop their planned demonstrations against the vote.

Voters will elect representatives for a special assembly that has the power to rewrite the nation's constitution.

Critics have accused President Nicolás Maduro of attempting to create a dictatorship.


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