Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Huge Turnout of Venezuelans Opposing Maduro's Attempt to Rewrite the Constitution

Huge Turnout of Venezuelans Opposing Maduro's Attempt to Rewrite the Constitution

David Smilde, a Tulane University expert on Venezuela, said Sunday's results would likely rally the global community even more strongly against the July 30 vote Maduro has called to elect members of the assembly that will retool Venezuela's 1999 constitution.

The victim, a 61-year-old nurse, was shot dead in Caracas by gunmen on motorbikes while she queued to participate in the symbolic vote, and a journalist was kidnapped, robbed, and beaten before he managed to escape.

"If they're forcing us, it isn't democracy", Madriz said.

Now the opposition of the new goverment is brutally repressed with bullets, water tanks, pepper spray and tear gas by the Venezuelan riot police.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said on VTV government television that he was declaring former Mexican president Vicente Fox persona non grata and banning him from the country for conspiring to instigate violence and foreign intervention.

Venezuela is in economic turmoil which the opposition says has been worsened by Mr Maduro, whom they accuse of wanting to create a dictatorship.

On 16 July, the opposition organised a "popular consultation" in which voters were asked whether they approved of Maduro's effort to hold the constitutive assembly.

The Venezuelan bishops strongly supported the referendum, even though, legally speaking, it has no standing because it's rejected by Maduro.

The day was marred by violence when pro-government paramilitary groups attacked voters outside the Our Lady of Carmen Church.

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However, soon after Maduro called for a constitutional assembly to re-write a constitution adopted under his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

According to Borges, once all ballots are counted, there will be some 7.5 million votes in the latest poll, which he said would be sufficient to overturn Maduro's mandate if there was a referendum.

Since then, protests up and down the country have been a daily occurrence.

"It's a way to show how many people are actually against the government, and to give support to people that are actually doing the protests and have been arrested", expat Andrea de Lima, who participated in South Florida, tells reporter Keyvan Antonio Heydari. Basic necessities, such as medicine and food, are in short supply.

Just two weeks before an election to decide the delegates who will rewrite Venezuela's national constitution, opposition activists held a symbolic vote of their own on Sunday.

"We don't want a fraudulent Constituent Assembly imposed on us".

"One particular thing that makes this act unlawful is that they never consulted with the people if they people want to change the constitution".

The woman's death brought to 96 the number of people who have died in almost four months of protests and political agitation in Venezuela's streets. The petroleum-rich nation has been hit hard by falling world oil prices.

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