Venezuela Election Step Toward Dictatorship, US Warns Amid Protests That Killed Several

“I said rain, thunder or lightning, the 30th of July was going to come,” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said as he cast his ballot in the election Sunday for a new constituent assembly.

Maduro, who hailed the election as the “biggest ever vote for the revolution,” promised it would bring peace and stability to the country where more than a hundred people have died in the protests this year, reports said. He was the first person to cast vote shortly after the polls opened at 6 a.m. EDT Sunday. “The first vote for peace,” the Venezuelan president said after casting his ballot.

Read: Venezuela Crisis 2017: Security Forces, Demonstrators Clash Amid Recession-Induced Shortages

“The Constituent Assembly will be the space, the power of powers, the superpower that will, so to speak, recover the national spirit, find reconciliation, justice, find the truth,” he said as he accused President Donald Trump of trying to “prevent the people from carrying out its right to vote,” CNN reported.

Maduro’s move was criticized by many, especially by the United States and Canada. Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, took to Twitter to slam Maduro’s election, calling it a step toward dictatorship.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) too expressed displeasure over the election process and said he stood by the people of Venezuela who deserved democracy.

The Canadian government also denounced Maduro’s decision. In a statement released Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said: “Canada denounces and condemns today’s significant and undemocratic action by the Venezuelan regime. This constituent assembly will further escalate tensions in the country by robbing the Venezuelan people of their fundamental democratic rights.”

“Despite repeated calls by member states of the Organization of the American States and the international community, including Canada, to cancel the national constituent assembly, President Maduro and his…

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