Venezuelan president hails vote as US levies sanctions

World Today

Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard officers detain a demonstrator during clashes at Altamira square in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 30, 2017. Venezuelans appear to be abstaining in massive numbers in a show of silent protest against a vote to select a constitutional assembly giving the government virtually unlimited powers. Across the capital on Sunday, dozens of polling places were empty or had a few dozens or hundreds of people outside, orders of magnitude less than the turnout in recent elections. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Just a day after Venezuela held a highly controversial election, the U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The U.S. Treasury Department said Maduro has attempted to undermine democracy and the rule of law in his country. The Venezuelan opposition agrees. 

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has more from Caracas.

The streets of Caracas are once again filled with barricades, much of them made with garbage… as opposition supporters send a message to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the rest of the world about what they think of Sunday’s election for a constituent assembly. 

The opposition boycotted the vote and put up NO candidates of its own. The opposition is calling the election a fraud and participants are grateful for the international attention it has brought to the crisis in Venezuela.

Maduro is calling the vote “a day of victory.” He said  more than 8 million people voted, a turnout rate of more than 41 percent. But opposition leaders said the turnout was really fewer than 15 percent.

“Today, more than ever, the Venezuelan people can count on their parliament and can count on its deputies, and we are going to continue to lead the fight for the Venezuelan people to have the life they deserve,” Julio Borges, the president of the Venezuelan National Parliament said.

Opposition leaders said they’ll continue organizing demonstrations like the ones held in Venezuela nearly every day for the last four months. They said they’ll stand strong, even though President Maduro has threatened to arrest those who disagree with his plans to establish a new congress and rewrite the country’s constitution.

The President  faces new condemnation from abroad…and even from within his own government. Attorney General Luisa Ortega called the election an expression of “dictatorial ambition.”

“We are facing a crime against humanity, because this violates the right to sovereignty,” Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said.

The Venezuelan government plans to install the members of the constituent assembly on Thursday, at the headquarters of the Venezuelan Parliament. It’s currently led by the opposition whose leaders say they have no intention of giving up their seats.