Venezuelan opposition launches strike ahead of vote

Posted July 28, 2017

"It is prohibited throughout all national territory, all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might disturb the electoral process", Venezuela's Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace Néstor Reverol said Thursday on state-run VTV.

The teenager, whose identity has not been revealed, is the second victim recorded during the first one-day general strike decreed for 48 hours to attempt to block the election on Sunday of members of the constituent Assembly.

The latest deaths in clashes with security forces raised to 105 the number of people killed since April 1.

Leopoldo López, an opposition leader, called on Venezuelans Wednesday to continue peaceful street protests, and encouraged the military to ignore government orders to clamp down on activists.

Prosecutors said a 30-year-old man was killed Wednesday in the western province of Merida, and a 14-year-old boy was killed in Caracas' Petare neighborhood, a sprawling slum in the eastern end of the city.

Maduro accused the United States of fomenting the unrest against him and his government, with the help of the conservative opposition.

Barricades made from debris dotted eastern Caracas and signs were up that read "No more dictatorships!"

"What happens if they impose the Constituent Assembly?"

The statement expresses concern over what it says is a "serious adjustment of the democratic order, the worsening of the crisis and the increase of violence" in Venezuela.

The opposition-led National Assembly, meanwhile, has challenged the government by appointing 33 supreme court judges to rival ones loyal to Maduro.

Global pressure on the regime in Caracas also ratcheted up this week.

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro rejected United States economic sanctions imposed on Wednesday against 13 current and former officials in the country, defining them as "illegal".

The Mooch Calls CNN to Deliver Cryptic Rant About New York, Leakers
And I can tell you when I go home and talk to people in my district, they don't care about all this stuff. Speaking on CNN Thursday morning, Scaramucci was more explicit about his tweet.

Lashing out against the United States, Venezuela's leader Maduro called the new U.S. sanctions against people from his regime "illegal, insolent and unprecedented", as cited by AFP. He has warned the Organization of American States not to intervene in Venezuela, saying that would surely bring on civil war.

But Maduro has pushed on, accusing Washington of fomenting unrest against him, aided by the conservative opposition.

"The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles", President Trump declared last week.

Some 70 per cent of Venezuelans oppose the Constituent Assembly, according to polling firm Datanalisis.

For months, violence has spiraled out of control as the struggle for food and medicine grows.

Thousands more loaded with heavy bags crossed the border into Colombia.

They also announced a boycott of Sunday's vote and said they would refuse to recognize its results.

Maduro has accused the US of stoking unrest against his government, but President Trump said last week that Washington "will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles".

At the same time, Maduro's administration is being squeezed by the long-running economic crisis.

"I want to tell the Venezuelan people that in mind, spirit and conviction, I have accompanied you in this fight on the streets", Lopez said from his home, where he is monitored with an electronic bracelet.

Venezuela's economy is expected to shrink by 12% in 2017, with inflation at 720%, following a contraction of 18% in 2016, according to the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund.