Much of LatAm behind Venezuela’s Maduro, few critical

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An anti-government activist guards a barricade in San Cristobal, Tachira state, on March 7, 2014Brasília (AFP) – In the face of violent protests roiling Venezuela, many of Latin America’s leaders have backed the government of President Nicolas Maduro, some have stayed mum and only a few have complained. The region’s few voices of dissent have been conservative leaders — Panama’s Ricardo Martinelli so angered Maduro that the leftist Venezuelan president broke off ties with Panama City — but by and large, those voices have been muted. “The region has protected itself in the ‘democratic clothing’ of President Maduro, who was elected democratically,” Alberto Pfeifer, a University of Sao Paulo professor and specialist on the region, told AFP. “That is the position of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Organization of American States, the Union of South American Nations and (regional trade bloc) Mercosur,” adds Pfeifer.