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Montevideo, August 22nd 2017 - 20:35 UTC

Seven million Venezuelans in symbolic referendum vote to cut short Maduro´s mandate

Monday, July 17th 2017 - 09:58 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Maduro dismissed Sunday's poll as unconstitutional and continued to campaign in support of a July 30 vote to create a constitutional assembly Maduro dismissed Sunday's poll as unconstitutional and continued to campaign in support of a July 30 vote to create a constitutional assembly
The symbolic plebiscite was held amid an economic crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans struggling to meet basic needs, and daily anti-government protests The symbolic plebiscite was held amid an economic crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans struggling to meet basic needs, and daily anti-government protests

More than seven million Venezuelans participated in an unofficial referendum organized by the opposition Sunday and 98% voted to delegitimize the rule of President Nicolas Maduro, according to academics monitoring the vote.

 Voters responded to three questions and they overwhelmingly rejected the proposed new super legislative body, urged the military to defend the existing constitution, and supported holding elections before Maduro’s term ends in early 2019.

Maduro dismissed Sunday's poll as unconstitutional and continued to campaign in support of a July 30 vote to create an assembly that would have the power to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions.

The symbolic plebiscite was held amid an economic crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans struggling to meet basic needs, and almost daily anti-government protests for several months that have cost the lives of about 100 people.

Gunmen on motorcycles fired on a group of voters in Caracas casting ballots Sunday killing a woman in her 60s and wounding three other people.

The opposition blamed the attack outside a church in one of Caracas' poorer districts on pro-government “paramilitaries.” An opposition statement said it felt “great pain” over the shooting.

Maduro has said changing the constitution is the only way to pull Venezuela out of its deep economic and social crisis.

“I'm calling on the opposition to return to peace, to respect for the constitution, to sit and talk,” he said Sunday. “Let's start a new round of talks, of dialogue for peace.”

But the opposition says the assembly will be rigged in Maduro's favor. It says rewriting the constitution is nothing but a Maduro ploy to turn Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship and destroy dissent.

One voter who rejects the new constitution summed up the feelings of millions of Venezuelans, saying “there's no medicine, no food, no security...no separation of powers, no freedom of expression.”

The drop in global energy prices along with government corruption has destroyed Venezuela's oil-rich economy. There are severe shortages of basic goods such as gasoline, flour, sugar, and cooking oil. Supermarket shelves are bare and many Venezuelans cross into neighboring Brazil and Colombia to buy food.

Maduro blames his country's woes on the United States and warns against intervention by the Organization of American States, saying that would surely bring on civil war.

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

Top Comments

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  • Capt Rockhopper

    Maddo will not get to die peacefully in his sleep in his bed.

    Jul 18th, 2017 - 02:35 am +3
  • tallison46

    One would think Maduro would start making arrangements elsewhere....

    Jul 18th, 2017 - 08:05 am +2
  • HughJuanCoeurs

    It's a mad, mad, mad, Maduro world. Welcome to the “acceptable face” of socialism, anyone?

    Jul 17th, 2017 - 09:19 pm +1
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