Venezuela prepared Friday for a possible showdown between opposition protesters and government forces ahead of a vote that critics decry as a final step toward authoritarian rule in the South American nation. Residents here in the sprawling capital poured into supermarkets, already struggling with food shortages, to stockpile what they could amid fears of violence. Flash points emerged in parts of the city, with clusters of protesters clashing with security forces who fired tear gas. Many streets were calm, though, some even eerily quiet. “I’m going to stay home all weekend, because I feel there will be violence,” said Rosa Aponte, 45, who was shopping in a packed grocery store in wealthier eastern Caracas, buying bread, plantains, juice, yogurt and sardines. “I do not want to take the risk.” Ahead of Sunday’s vote , the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro — the anointed successor of […]