UN urges government to allow dissent as asylum requests soar — Venezuela crisis

Terrorist Oscar Perez Appears at Opposition Stronghold

With improvised polling stations in more than 80 countries, the vote also includes the participation of the swelling ranks of Venezuelans who have moved abroad.

The figure obtained by the opposition, however, is lower than the 7,587,579 votes secured by Maduro in the presidential elections of 2013, when he beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles by less than two percentage points.

"My family personally is marching, friends that are in the country trying to do their best to change the current situation", Villamizar said. Still, some supporters said they were disappointed.

"I haven't been back to Venezuela in 4 years". People are hungry and tired.

Venezuelan expatriates began voting in hundreds of cities worldwide on Sunday in a unofficial plebiscite that aims to challenge President Nicolas Maduro and his plans to rewrite the constitution.

Venezuela's opposition will hold a symbolic vote on Sunday.

"Overall this vote, I think, makes it difficult for the government to just proceed as planned", Smilde said.

He has presented his proposed 545-member Constituent Assembly, drawn from various sectors of society, as "the only path" to peace and economic recovery.

Nelson said that more than 1,200 Venezuelans in San Antonio cast their votes on Sunday. Moncada offered no evidence to support his accusations.

"It's important that we stay united and helping the opposition and rejecting this dictatorships desired stay in power", he said.

"Some public employees, under government pressure not to participate in opposition events, are seeking creative ways to vote in the plebiscite without being noticed".

The opposition cast Sunday's unofficial referendum as an act of civil disobedience that will be followed by "zero hour", a possible reference to a national strike or other escalated actions against the president.

After months of street rallies that have led to nearly 100 deaths, the Democratic Unity coalition brought millions onto the streets on Sunday for an informal referendum intended to de-legitimize a leader they call a dictator. "Let's start a new round of talks, of dialogue for peace".

"In the latest survey in June, [we found] 56 percent of Venezuelans would prefer that President Maduro solve the [country's] problems - despite the discontent that exists", explained Hinterlaces head Oscar Schemel.

Applications for asylum lodged by Venezuelan nationals have "soared", with 52,000 already this year against 27,000 all of 2016, the UN refugee agency said. "Today we're following his legacy, with President Nicolas Maduro".

But De Páez said that she is hopeful for the future of the country.

"If they're forcing us, it isn't democracy", Madriz said. "This was the same step that was taken in the last referendum to change the constitution". "There's no separation of powers, no freedom of expression".

"The opposition is boycotting the election and promoting an alternative round of balloting". The country's chief prosecutor has recently broken with the ruling party.

Voters are being asked if they reject Maduro's plan to create a "Constituent Assembly" to redo the constitution, and if they approve of early elections.

That referendum could grant the assembly power to rewrite the constitution and to dissolve state institutions.

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