Venezuelans begin 'final offensive' 24-hour walkout against President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelans begin 'final offensive' 24-hour walkout against President Nicolas Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his opponents face a crucial showdown Thursday as the country's opposition calls the first national strike since 2002 stoppage that failed to topple Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez. The US calls on the Government of Venezuela to abandon the proposed National Constituent Assembly. "Here in Venezuela, Venezuelans give the orders, not Trump".

Maduro has called for the election of the special assembly to rewrite the country's 1999 constitution. Dozens of pro-government activists stormed into the seat of Venezuela's National Assembly Wednesday as the opposition-controlled legislature was holding a special session to mark the independence day.

"As per instructions from President Maduro, we will conduct a profound review of relations with the government of the United States because we will not accept threats from anyone", Moncada said Tuesday, claiming that Trump's statements in support of the referendum and against the new constitution-and his threat of further sanctions on the government for human rights abuses-"threatens not only individuals but all people" in the country. "Trump has committed an aggression against a Latin American country", the official said. "We're here making them understand that we don't want this government". Much of the other half serves as payment of debt owed to China, so a total cut in exports to the US would slash Venezuelan government income by 75 percent, Angel Alvarado, a member of congress and economist, told The Associated Press.

Venezuelans have launched a massive national strike as pressure builds on President Nicolas Maduro over his controversial plan to consolidate power. The opposition said that more than 7.5 million people voted against the constitutional assembly at unofficial ballot boxes set up nationwide and in expatriate communities Sunday.

More than 24 hours before the start of the strike, neighbourhood groups across Caracas were setting up roadblocks of tree branches and tires in to protest Maduro's plans to change the constitution, irritating some residents.

Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Colombia and the European Union have also come out against the effort. "The ones supporting this strike don't understand anything", said the woman, who declined to give her name.

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On Friday, the opposition plans to name 13 judges to the supreme court to replace those named by the outgoing, ruling-party-dominated congress in 2015 in a process that legal experts say violated nomination procedures.

"There are now about 15,000 Cubans in Venezuela", he said.

Approximately 8 percent of Venezuela's 30-million-strong population lives overseas, according to migration expert Iván de la Vega, 1.5 million of whom emigrated in the almost two decades since Hugo Chávez originally came to power.

More than three months of street protests have left at least 93 people dead and 1,500 wounded.

Mr Almagro has always been one of the fiercest and most outspoken critics of the Venezuelan government.

For more than two years, Venezuela has struggled with a massive economic collapse that has triggered acute food shortages, a lack of medical care and rampant inflation. "They are more likely to make the government feel they have no option but to resist, and they offer the government a nationalist rallying cry against the U.S.".

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