Venezuela's Opposition Referendum Overwhelmingly Rejects Maduro's Quest to Change Constitution

Venezuela government opposition

Now, opposition leaders are promising "Zero Hour" in Venezuela to demand a general election and stop the leftist Maduro's plan to create a controversial new legislative super-body called a Constituent Assembly in a July 30 vote.

The latest fatality came on Sunday when gunmen shot a 61-year-old woman in a crowd of opposition voters in the poor Caracas neighborhood of Catia.

Archbishop Ulises Gutiérrez of Bolivar, defined Sunday as the "most important day in recent times", a day in which "the people of Venezuela expressed its will for a total change in the path the country is taking".

"The result is a remarkable show of force for Venezuela's opposition", New York-based Torino Capital said, noting participation also meant openly defying the government.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said on VTV government television that he was declaring former Mexican president Vicente Fox persona non grata and banning him from the country for conspiring to instigate violence and foreign intervention.

The opposition says it is a bid by Maduro to concentrate dictatorial prerogatives and stay on despite his deep unpopularity, put at 80 percent by Datanalisis.

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Mr Fox went to Venezuela on Saturday in a group of Latin American former presidents to support the Opposition referendum.

"I'm calling on the opposition to return to peace, to respect for the constitution, to sit and talk", Maduro said. "There's no separation of powers, no freedom of expression".

"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 and the military dominate most state institutions, but the opposition controls the congress and holds three of 23 governorships. Many fear this will give the socialist president a chance to further weave the socialist party into the country's governing and administrative fabric. Do they support the formation of a government composed both of Maduro backers and opponents? The people expressed themselves and told the Executive what they want: they want peace.

Voting on three questions, 98 per cent rejected the new assembly proposed by President Maduro and backed a call for elections before 2019. Mass protests have become a almost daily occurrence in Venezuela since the crisis began in early April, after the Supreme Court, which many see as filled with pro-government judges, dissolved parliament and transferred legislative power to itself.

Voters across the seven different voting locations in South Florida are hoping the turnout sends a message to the Venezuelan government to listen to the people and end the violent clashes that have claimed dozens of lives. The petroleum-rich nation has been hit hard by falling world oil prices.

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