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Venezuela's Opposition-Led Symbolic Vote on Sunday Could Be Turning Point, Say Experts

July 14, 2017

After more than 100 days of protests, the violence and unrest in Venezuela continues, sparking increasing reactions from the international community. Amid the deteriorating situation, opposition leaders from the National Assembly have called for a symbolic plebiscite, or referendum vote, on Sunday and are urging Venezuelan nationals around the globe to either support or reject President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.

The July 16 plebiscite comes two weeks before the government holds a vote on July 30 to elect delegates to a special assembly. That special assembly would then begin a rewrite of the constitution. Maduro has said this overhaul is the best solution to finding peace in Venezuela…

At the "Voices from Venezuela: Understanding the Crisis" forum on Thursday sponsored by The Americas Society/Council of the Americas, experts said that Sunday’s vote could be a turning point for Venezuela.

Like thousands of Venezuelans, Juan Manuel Raffalli, a constitutional law professor in Venezuela, disagrees with President Maduro about changing the constitution as a solution to the country’s instability. He described how Venezuela was once a solid democracy, but now the government has no interest in finding a solution to the situation.

"The government is facing its own people," said Raffalli. "The control of public demonstrations in the street has been criminal. And yet the people continue to fight because they are fighting for their future."…

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