Venezuelan Opposition Defies Maduro’s Regime with Referendum to Stop Rewriting of Constitution

[7/5/17  KARIN MARTÍN]  Venezuela’s political opposition party the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) announced early this week that it will hold a referendum about President Nicolás Maduro’s continued position of power, the structure of the Constituent Assembly and the role of the Armed Forces.

Information about the details of the referendum have not been widely circulated, but President of the National Assembly Julio Borges said the party’s Electoral Technician Roberto Picón, who was largely in charge of reviewing the document, was kidnapped by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service. In response, Borges said that if the regime truly cared about establishing a new constitution, it would let the people have a voice.

“Let the people decide whether to reject or ignore the Constituent Assembly convened unconstitutionally by Nicolás Maduro,” Borges said.

The opposition has scheduled the referendum for July 16, according to Borges.

Borges said he has high hopes that the decision process will “active a higher phase of struggle” against Maduro’s dictatorial regime. However, he did not say how the referendum will be carried out without the participation of the National Electoral Council, whose loyalty has long been with Maduro.

The goal of the referendum, which is part of an agreement between the opposition and dissident Chavismo members, is to find a way out of the political, economic and social crisis currently taking place in Venezuela.

According to local media, the referendum will ask three questions: Do you support Nicolás Maduro continuing as president? Do you agree with a constituent assembly? What should be the role of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces when faced with a violated constitution?

The opposition plans to convene “Committees for the Rescue of Democracy” that are made up of representatives from each part of the country.

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