Venezuela's President Maduro Mocks Trump After US Sanctions

04 August, 2017, 00:26 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • One Reason Trump May Not Ban Oil From Brutalized Venezuela? US Gas Prices Would Shoot Up

Significantly, the opposition had held an unofficial referendum on July 16 in which it said 7.6 million Venezuelans voted against the new assembly - just under the level of support the government claimed on Sunday.

The opposition, which boycotted the vote, said turnout was less than four million, and that account was reinforced by journalists' reports that dozens of polling places around Caracas were nearly deserted on Sunday.

All the decisions of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela that will begin its work on Thursday will be subject to popular approval, Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Carlos Faria said Wednesday.

Maduro planned to swear in the 545 members of the so-called Constituent Assembly, including his own wife and son, on Wednesday at a concert arena in Caracas, his press office said. Maduro called the vote in May after weeks of protests fuelled by widespread anger over food shortages, triple-digit inflation and high crime - unrest that continues and has caused at least 125 deaths.

Zeid says he is deeply concerned opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma once again were in jail. Given that the opposition refused to field candidates, the figure gives an indication of support for the government.

Now that vital flow could be stanched if, as industry leaders fear, President Donald Trump's administration embargoes imports to pressure his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro said during the meeting Wednesday night that an additional 2 million people might have voted if they hadn't been blocked by barricades put up by anti-government protesters.

"Nothing and no-one can stop the victory of the people", he said to applause from 500 members of the new assembly. But he did not specify whether his company's figures showed 1 million fewer, or 1 million more, voters.

Smartmatic provided about 24,000 machines for Venezuelans to cast their votes electronically.

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Venezuela's attorney-general Luisa Ortega has called the official results "a mockery", and Luis Rondon, an independent member of the electoral council, said he could not guarantee the vote's results.

"There is a rise in xenophobia in the USA, and a flood of Venezuelans from across social strata into the country risk local backlash and becoming pawns and scapegoats of U.S. politicians", he said.

Even before Smartmatic's statement, there were growing questions about the official turnout count.

The absence of auditors, the company said, allowed for a manipulation of the turnout numbers.

The opposition legislators in the National Assembly have already announced that they would not recognize "the fraudulent and illegitimate" Constituent Assembly. Maduro's opponents are demanding early presidential elections.

In a further statement on the company's website, Smartmatic says that the system used in Venezuela is "tamper evident".

The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition, which won a two-thirds majority in December 2015, accuses Maduro of seeking to cripple Venezuela's legislative and judicial branches.

Luis Vicente Leon, president of Datanalisis, a Caracas-based polling agency, said Smartmatic's finding was, "without a doubt, the most devastating pronouncement yet for the credibility" of the nation's electoral council.

Washington has made one of its most foreboding threats so far against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly floated the possibility of stepping up "regime change" measures against the government of democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro.

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