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At Least One Killed, Three Injured by Gunfire During Voting in Venezuela

17 Julio 2017, 05:17 | Bibiana Flor

At Least One Killed, Three Injured by Gunfire During Voting in Venezuela

At Least One Killed, Three Injured by Gunfire During Voting in Venezuela

Venezuela's opposition called for massive turnout Sunday in a symbolic rejection of Maduro's plans to consolidate his power by rewriting the constitution.

On July 30, at the behest of Maduro, Venezuelans will elect 500 people to a national Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country's 1999 constitution.

"We are gathering together, all the Venezuelans that are residents of the Central Valley and surroundings, to say that we do not agree with the current Venezuelan situation", said Maria Fajardo, the coordinator of the polling place at La Arepa, the first Venezuelan restaurant in Fresno.

The head of the OAS, Luis Almagro, in a video called on Venezuelans to take part in Sunday's vote "to prevent the definitive collapse of the country's institutions". Thousands of demonstrators are reported to have been "arbitrarily detained" and more than 450 civilians are believed to have been brought before military tribunals, she said.

The armed assault occurred in Catia, a working class neighborhood in the capital Caracas.

The call to polls was described as a "plebiscite" by the opposition, but the government slammed it as "illegal".

“Turnout of several million would send a very strong signal, with anything exceeding that a remarkable success, ” Eurasia Group analysts Risa Grais-Targow and Agata Ciesielska said in a report earlier this month, adding that Maduro isn't likely to back down from his plan.

"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. Nearly 100 people have died during these face-offs.

The vote will take place in 2,030 polling stations in 536 cities of Venezuela, and 69 countries around the world.

But the opposition says the assembly will be rigged in Maduro's favor.

A coalition of opposition parties; the National Assembly announced the move on July 3. "Liberty!" chanted participants in Spanish at Miami Dade College West Campus in Doral, one of the polling sites. "The Venezuelans have their country in their hands", she said. The opposition believes that it will be one further step towards a one-party state.

This would allow the president to stay in power during the process, and could lead to a delay of the 2018 presidential election.

And it's about President Nicolas Maduro's plan to establish a constituent assembly, to rewrite the constitution of the country. The most stark was the rebellion of Attorney General Luisa Ortega, who came out against the Constituent Assembly.

They are due to close at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT), though they will remain open as long as people are in line.

Opposition leaders in the country say two people were killed and four injured at the voting center in a Caracas suburb. Food and medicine shortages have left some without basic supplies.

He has said that a new constitution would "neutralise" the opposition and defeat "coup-plotters".

Chavez, who was elected in 1998, became widely popular for his promise to share the country's oil wealth with the poor and to guarantee food security. For many people, staples such as eggs and rice have become unaffordable. It expects participation to reach 10.5 million people - a majority of Venezuela's 19 million voters.



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