Saturday, 22 July, 2017

98% of Venezuela referendum voters reject President's proposal

Opposition members wave a Venezuelan flag outside a poll station during a symbolic referendum in Caracas Venezuela Sunday Fresno residents stand in solidarity with Venezuela protesters
Saul Franklin | 18 July, 2017, 00:41

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.

President Maduro's plans to change the constitution is what lead Venezuelans across the globe to come together Sunday to vote on this symbolic referendum that has no legal impact and that Maduro calls illegitimate. "We will honor that cry that Venezuela gave", he said. The opposition has vowed not to participate in those elections.

The opposition however has blamed a "paramilitary" gang for the shooting, which prosecutors said they would investigate.

At the beginning of June, Pope Francis said: "my voice resonates in that of the Venezuelan bishops". Some 7 million people participated in Sunday's protest.

The Opposition called backers to vote on three questions.

The vote in the unofficial, Opposition-organised referendum was just short of the 7.7 million who voted for the Opposition in Congress.

Canada and Mexico were among the countries that issued statements Sunday evening lauding the opposition vote. "I think it's going to embolden the worldwide community to reject it".

The Venezuelan government is known to be among the most corrupt in Latin America, and violent crime in the country has spiked since Maduro took office. Moncada did not provide evidence to back his claims.

Video posted to social media showed huge crowds outside the church before running in panic as men on motorbikes zoomed past and shots rang out.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles shows a ballot during a symbolic referendum in Caracas Venezuela Sunday
Woman killed, 3 wounded as tensions rise with Venezuela vote

Calling it "a hymn to peace", Maduro said the people of Venezuela through their extensive participation in the constituent electoral process have shown that the way to solve the country's problems is through peace.

Protesters are demanding a new presidential election and want Maduro to lift his ban on humanitarian aid so that needed food and medical supplies can reach Venezuelans.

More than 100,000 people turned out to vote in South Florida.

Still, some supporters said they were disappointed. "Today we're following his legacy, with President Nicolas Maduro ..."

Mogherini suggested that "a large part of the population clearly does not seem to support the Constituent Assembly" and that there is a need of exploring "urgent peaceful solutions".

"This is really important because I think it's the first step in recovering our country because it's really bad right now", Claudia Cabrera, a local Venezuelan resident, said.

Isabel Santander, a 67-year-old retired auditor, said she was voting against the constitutional assembly as a protest against the country's economic collapse. "There's no separation of powers, no freedom of expression".

They have also voted to call upon the military to defend Venezuela's constitution. The government blames the crisis on an economic war waged by its opponents and outside backers.

Colombia has dealt with rising tensions and a growing number of people crossing the border from Venezuela as the crisis in the oil-rich country has deepened. More than three months of opposition protests have left at least 93 people dead and 1,500 wounded.

Amazon is reportedly working on new stand-alone messaging app called 'Anytime.'
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Froome reclaims yellow jersey
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Martin Landau, 'Mission Impossible,' 'North by Northwest' actor, dead at 89
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