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Venezuela Opposition calls nationwide strike against Maduro

18 Julio 2017, 08:31 | Cornelio Vivanco

Venezuela Opposition calls nationwide strike against Maduro

Venezuela Opposition calls nationwide strike against Maduro

Venezuela was once one of South America's most successful and wealthy countries, but has seen a rapid decline under the government of Nicolas Maduro.

After Sunday's results, Maduro said he's still pushing forward to the July 30 vote.

The violence confirmed fears surrounding an electoral tussle between the opposition and Maduro, focused on the beleaguered president's bid to rewrite the constitution.

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.

Sunday, almost 7.2 million Venezuelans voted in a hastily arranged referendum created to voice their opposition to the socialist president's plans to rewrite the country's constitution.

Ortega also believes the vote is "sending a message to national armed forces" to "start protecting the people on the street and stop protecting" Maduro's regime.

Senior White House officials told Reuters last month the Trump administration was considering sanctions on Venezuela's vital energy sector, including state oil company PDVSA, a major escalation in USA efforts to pressure the country's government amid a crackdown on the opposition.

In late June, a rogue police pilot and budding action-movie star stole a helicopter and dropped grenades on the Supreme Court, calling for a rebellion against Maduro's government.

Venezuela's Opposition, invigorated by the voter support and the worldwide reactions, clearly was keen to seize the moment.

A 61-year-old woman was killed and four people wounded by gunfire that erupted after government supporters on motorcycles swarmed an opposition polling site in a church in the traditionally pro-government Catia neighborhood of western Caracas.

Venezuela's government is set to hold an official vote on July 30 for the new constituent assembly, which would have the power to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions.

Fajardo said she has hope that this unofficial election will show the voice of Venezuelans everywhere. The president, in turn, says the opposition is collaborating with the "imperialist" United States to undermine to topple his government.

"If he doesn't, there not only will be more violence, but it will cause the fall of his government", Borges said in an interview. "As if they are autonomous and decide on their own", he said.

Venezuela's opposition coalition has called for a general strike to take place on Thursday in protest over President Maduro's plans.

Any stepped-up confrontation between the opposition and the government threatened to deepen a political crisis that, since the beginning of April, has left 100 people dead.

It remains unclear what real impact the balloting - which the government dismissed as illegal and politically irrelevant - would have.



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