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Venezuelans in T&T vote against Maduro

Published: 
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Venezuelans national living in Trinidad, Barbara Gomez cast her vote on Venezuela’s political crisis and opposition referendum on government plans to rewrite the constitution yesterday at Black Box, Murray Street, Woodbrook.

Venezuelans residing in T&T joined with hundreds of thousands nationals across the globe yesterday in a symbolic rejection of embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to rewrite the country’s constitution.

The rejection was done via a voting system at Arima, Port-of-Spain, Chaguanas and Tobago where over 1,800 Venezuelans residing in T&T cast their votes in an opposition referendum, objecting to Maduro’s move.

Voting was opened from 7 am and closed at 4 pm.

In May, Maduro issued a decree for writing a new constitution which has led to a political crisis that has drawn hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters in the streets of Caracas over the last 100 days.

In the last few months Venezuela has been faced with an economic crisis which has led to a shortage of food and widespread looting. Clashes between protesters and police have left at least 93 people dead, 1,500 wounded and more than 500 behind bars, according to the latest AP report.

Andreina Briceno who spoke on behalf of the the movement Mesa De La Unidad said the votes would reject and ignore the realisation of a National Constituent Assembly proposed by Maduro without the proper approval of its people.

It also demands the National Armed Forces or public servant to obey and defend the Constitution of 1999.

Last night the votes were sent to Venezuela to be recounted.

Of the four locations the votes were cast, Briceno who supervised voting in Arima said Port-Spain captured 1,025 with Chaguanas attaining over 500, while Tobago received the least with 50.

Briceno said they wanted to go back to a democratic system where they could vote and elect those who could manage the country for the best interests of its citizens.

The success of the opposition’s symbolic referendum will be measured by how many millions participate.

Democratic Unity, a coalition of some 20 opposition parties, has printed 14 million ballots for voters inside and outside the country of 31 million people. Few expect turnout that high but analysts say participation by more than 8 million people would significantly hike pressure on the government.

The government calls the opposition vote a manipulation aimed at destabilising the country, and has been urging its supporters to participate in the constitutional assembly, which it calls a way of restoring peace to Venezuela.