Maduro presses on with Venezuela vote despite protests, condemnation

Maduro presses on with Venezuela vote despite protests, condemnation

Maduro presses on with Venezuela vote despite protests, condemnation

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says his country will not recognise the result of Sunday's vote in neighbouring Venezuela to elect a new assembly with power to rewrite the constitution، according to "BBC". On Friday, the Venezuelan government banned demonstrations ahead of this weekend's election.

If the vote is successful, President Nicolás Maduro would be able to create a constituent assembly which would be able to rewrite the Constitution. At least 100 people have been killed.

"The dire economic crisis that Venezuela is facing - with rampant shortages of food, medicine and other basic goods - is a major factor contributing to the country's current political instability", Alexander Main, a senior associate for worldwide policy at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, told ABC News via email.

"National meetings and demonstrations, concentrations of people and any similar acts that may disturb or affect the normal development of the electoral process are prohibited throughout the country", Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said at a news conference in Caracas.

Opposition has called for a "Take Over of Venezuela" march on Friday against President Maduro's Constituent Assembly vote on Friday.

Alessandra Polga, director of the Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation in Toronto, said Canada must join the sanctioning Venezuelan officials. He didn't say whether the US would sanction Venezuelan oil imports, a measure with the potential to undermine Maduro but cause an even deeper humanitarian crisis here.

Maduro and his party said they have the right to call for the assembly, but opposition politicians said he should have first asked the public to approve it in a referendum, as Chavez had previously done.

In Barinas, home state of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, only about a third of businesses were closed according to a Reuters witness, as opposed to the opposition's formal estimate of 90 percent participation nationally.

Barquisimeto Mayor Alfredo Ramos, a vocal opponent of Maduro and the vote to elect delegates to a constitutional assembly, wasarrested in his office Friday afternoon by officers of the SEBIN police intelligence agency.

"What happens if they impose the Constituent Assembly? We will respond with the TAKING OF VENEZUELA".

"Opposition leaders are continuing to try to convince their supporters and Venezuelans to go out en-masse - they say they have to take to the streets, they can't let up pressure now with less than 48 hours before that vote".

Second antigovernment general strike called by Venezuela's opposition might have been less massively supported.

The state prosecutor's office said four people died on Thursday amid the unrest: A 49-year-old man in Carabobo state, a 23 year-old in Lara state, a 29 year-old in Anzoategui state and a 16-year old in the middle class Caracas area of El Paraiso. The Maduro government characterizes the country's crisis as the result of an economic war led by the global right-wing and as a fiction created by opposition-influenced media.

Critics like Rubio fear, however, that Maduro's true motive is to hold a vote to dissolve Congress, push through a new constitution and keep himself in total power of the already impoverished nation where soaring inflation and high crime run rampant. The opposition refused to do this as well as stop supporting sanctions by the United States on the government, another Maduro demand.

The oil export-dependent economy will shrink 12 per cent this year, after a contraction of 18 per cent last year, the International Monetary Fund said.

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