Venezuelans vote vs Maduro

Patrice Gainsbourg
Julho 17, 2017

Activists celebrate Sunday in Caracas after voting in an opposition-organized referendum on President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the country's constitution.

The woman's death brought to 96 the number of people who have died in almost 100 days of protests, which have left more than a thousand injured.

"Today, July 16, dignity won and tyranny lost", said opposition leader Maria Corina Machado.

Recently, the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, who has worked closely with the USA state department and Venezuela, asked Cuba's Raul Castro, a close ally of Maduro, to intervene in the conflict.

Maduro tried to counter the show of support by the opposition by holding a "practice vote" for his new constitutional assembly at the same time.

The Protesters' motivation was boosted at the beginning of May when Maduro announced he would call up a constituent assembly to rewrite the country's constitution.

The turnout is slightly smaller than the 7.7 million people who voted for opposition candidates at the 2015 parliamentary elections.

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. And do do you approve of the renewal of public powers in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and the holding of free and transparent elections, as well as the formation of a government of national unity to restore constitutional order?

The President of the Central University of Venezuela, Cecilia García Arocha, said 6,492,381 people voted within the country and another 693,789 at polling stations overseas.

The referendum, which was held throughout Venezuela and in several other countries, is the opposition's attempt to show how many Venezuelans reject Maduro and his policies amid a political and economic crisis.

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"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 opposition plans to burn ballot papers from the informal poll so those who voted against the government can not be identified and victimised.

Venezuela's highly controversial President Nicolas Maduro has slammed the opposition referendum.

A view of confrontations between pro and anti-government demonstrators as members of the police patrol the area during an unofficial referendum organized by the opposition in Caracas, Venezuela, 16 July 2017.

"It clearly states that Maduro is as deeply unpopular as he has always been thought to be, and it shows, as the polls have suggested, that Venezuelans are overwhelmingly against the idea of establishing a constitutional assembly", Philip reports.

Maduro described the event as the "biggest and most impactful dry run of all dry runs that have taken place in the last 18 years" in a tweet on Sunday.

Where more than 98% of voters rejected the proposal of the Constituent Assembly; called on the military to defend the existing constitution, and gave its support to new elections before Maduro's term expires in 2019.

The chief prosecutor's office confirmed Escot - who was a nurse - had been killed and four others wounded in the incident.

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

The opposition however has blamed a "paramilitary" gang for the shooting, which prosecutors said they would investigate. They also kidnapped journalist Luis Olavarrieta, who was later found beaten in a medical center, according to The Guardian.

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