Woman killed outside Church queuing to vote in Venezuela

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 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.

Amid ongoing turmoil, an overwhelming majority of those who voted in an unofficial referendum organized by Venezuela's opposition has rejected the motion of leftist President Nicolas Maduro to change the constitution and supplant the opposition-leadning Parliament with a "Constituent Assembly".

A woman has been killed by gunfire that broke out after government supporters on motorcycles swarmed a polling station for an opposition plebiscite in Venezuela's capital Caracas.

Sunday's opposition vote was a strong but not overwhelming showing that fell short of the opposition's 7.7 million-vote showing in 2015 legislative elections and the 7.5 million votes that brought Maduro to power in 2013.

In an attempt to further undermine the opposition, Maduro's government held its polls, labeling them simulations for the July 30 referendum.

"Mr. Fox came to Venezuela paid to promote violence and intervention by foreign powers", tweeted a furious Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada after the Mexican had flown out. "What we're trying to accomplish is try to get Venezuela freedom, the same freedom we have here", activist Rangel Melendez said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated his call for political dialogue with the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) on Sunday.

He said: "I'm calling on the opposition to return to peace, to respect for the constitution, to sit and talk".

Late Sunday, the prosecutor-general issued a statement stating that a shooting at the town of Catia, west of Caracas, had killed Scott and three others outside a voting centre. President Maduro argues that the constituent assembly is the only way to help Venezuela out of its economic and political crisis that has sparked protests nationwide.

At an opposition site nearby, Juan Madriz, a 45-year-old insurance company employee, said he didn't object to rewriting the constitution per se, but rejected Maduro's decision to do so without putting that decision to a vote, as his predecessor Hugo Chavez did. They also voted for the armed forces to defend the current constitution.

"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.

Benjamin Scharifker, another university rector, said that the "yes" overwhelmingly dominated the consultation in all three questions, with 98.4 percent of the votes received against the Constituent Assembly. The petroleum-rich nation has been hit hard by falling world oil prices.

Other reports by iNewsToday