Cuba Has "Occupying Army" in Venezuela, OAS Secretary General Claims

El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren defended Maduro at Nicaragua

Maduro's attacks against the United States occurred less than a week after the head of state claimed to be seeking "a relationship of respect between the American and Venezuelan governments".

USA officials said they are preparing sanctions against several senior Venezuelan government figures in an effort to pressure Maduro to cancel the Constituent Assembly vote scheduled for July 30. Padrino Lopez challenged on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 the countries that have declared against the government's initiative to rewrite Venezuela's constitution, saying the nation will not submit to foreign governments.

The conservative opposition, which has the backing of the United States, has opposed the initiative and even organised an informal poll on Sunday to gauge support.

"The FANB categorically rejects the alliance of governments operating against the nation and repudiates as firmly as possible the statements of (U.S. President Donald) Trump who, in an affront to Venezuela has dared to threaten the Venezuelan people with imposing economic sanctions on the government if it goes ahead with its Constituent Assembly".

Despite Trump's threats, Venezuela has continued to forge ties with some United States-based oil companies working to improve relations.

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Number of Venezuelan expats who voted from abroad-including 102,000 in South Florida, more than the 100,500 who were eligible to vote worldwide in the 2013 presidential election. Protesters across Caracas set up roadblocks of tree branches and tires to protest Maduro's plans to change the constitution.

"Yesterday's vote was a massive repudiation of the proposed National Constituent Assembly, which would undermine Venezuela's democratic institutions". "I invite all American capital to come to Venezuela, we are cool", Maduro said.

In response, the opposition called Thursday's general strike. "The dignity of our people is at stake", he added.

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a briefing for reporters Tuesday that "the President told us to consider all options, so options are on the table" but declined to provide any details. She explained that part of the exercise was to identify those localities within the municipalities where the safety of voters could be threatened during the electoral event.

"We are seeing empty streets and most shops closed", said opposition leader Henrique Capriles while touring the city on foot.

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"We won't allow, and we'll be closely watching, any disruption that violates the working class' right to work", Ovalles said.

His labor minister, Nestor Ovalles, warned that companies in Venezuela that joined a 24-hour, nationwide strike on Thursday called by the opposition would be "sanctioned".

The results showed almost 98% of voters said they were against the move to re-write the country's constitution.

Meanwhile, the opposition has called for several days of actions, which have already led to more deaths and increased violence, in its efforts to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution.

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