News Worms
News Worms

Venezuela's Opposition Sets General Strike

Venezuela's Opposition Sets General Strike

Almost 7.2 million Venezuelans voted in an unofficial referendum on Sunday against Socialist President Nicolas Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution.

Voters in Venezuela's opposition referendum, which has no legal status, have rejected Maduro's plans for a new Constituent Assembly with the power to scrap the National Assembly and re-write the constitution, BBC News reported citing academics monitoring the poll.

Fox traveled to Venezuela Saturday with a group of Latin American former presidents to show support for the opposition referendum.

Meanwhile, the opposition praised the vote as proof that Venezuelans demand democratic change.

"Overall this vote, I think, makes it hard for the government to just proceed as planned", Smilde said.

Late Sunday, the prosecutor-general issued a statement stating that a shooting at the town of Catia had killed the 61-year-old Xiomara Scott and three others outside a voting center.

"They (MUD) have a quiet consultation today (.) I tell them not to go insane, we make a call for them to return to peace, to sit down and talk, to begin a new cycle of dialogue for peace", said Maduro during a telephone interview with the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión.

All this as Venezuelans current President Nicolás Maduro called for a rewrite of the country's constitution.

The referendum comes almost two weeks before a Maduro-backed vote for a constituent assembly that would be tasked with rewriting the constitution without the opposition controlled national assembly.

Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said that Fox "will not enter Venezuela anymore because it is considered undesirable", due to comments he made about the Venezuelan government during the day.

The symbolic plebiscite was aimed at denting Maduro's legitimacy further amid a crippling economic crisis that has left millions struggling to eat and months of anti-government unrest that has killed almost 100 people. "Let's start a new round of talks, of dialogue for peace".

In smaller numbers in many parts of the capital, government supporters went to polling stations in a rehearsal for the July 30 vote.

Some have said that the "popular consultation" is illegitimate, as it lacked the backing of the state - which, instead, held its own "practice vote" for the constituent assembly that is scheduled for 30 July.

The opposition has criticized Maduro's Constituent Assembly as an attempt to establish a dictatorship in which the National Assembly's powers would be further weakened.

Over the past couple of years the escalating crises in what once was the richest South American country has led to steep deterioration of public health with infectious diseases such as malaria creeping back. She said: "My response to today's referendum is 'yes, yes, yes!' Yes to freedom".

Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition claimed the high turnout - about a third of the 19 million eligible voters - provided a mandate for them to challenge Maduro.

The Venezuelans who participated in the plebiscite answered three questions.

One unexpected challenger who has emerged is Venezuela's chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Diaz.

"This is why the government does not want to hold any more elections".

Opponents of Venezuela's government blame it for turning one of the region's most prosperous countries into an economic basket case with a shrinking economy, soaring inflation and widespread shortages.


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