Venezuelan authorities say a 19-year-old man has been shot dead during an anti-government protest in the central state of Carabobo. They also say 80 other people have been detained in protests elsewhere.
Officials say the incidents happened Monday as the demonstrators took to the streets ahead of this coming Sunday's referendum on proposed constitutional reforms sought by President Hugo Chavez.
The proposals include eliminating presidential term limits and establishing socialist reforms. Also among them are proposals to give authorities sweeping powers if a national emergency is declared, including detention without charges and controls on the news media. The plan has been condemned by Venezuela's opposition parties, human rights groups and the Roman Catholic Church.
A recent poll shows that Venezuelan voters oppose the reforms by a wide margin. The polling company Datanalisis announced Saturday that 49 percent of likely voters oppose the reforms, while 39 percent favor the changes.
Separately, former Venezuelan Defense Minister Raul Isaias Baduel said in an exclusive interview with VOA ' Spanish service last week that he predicts Venezuelans will vote against the reforms. He has previously said the changes would amount to a coup by President Chavez.