Polls open in Venezuela opposition vote

Fresno residents stand in solidarity with Venezuela protesters

Sunday's opposition vote was a strong but not overwhelming showing that fell short of the opposition's 7.7 million-vote showing in 2015 legislative elections and the 7.5 million votes that brought Maduro to power in 2013.

The rector of the Central University of Venezuela, Cecilia García Arocha, said 6,492,381 people voted inside Venezuela and another 693,789 at polling stations overseas.

"There's kids dying because they are starving, there's no food, there's no medicine", Cabrera said.

"I thought it was going to be more", said Mariela Arana, a 56-year-old school counselor.

Specifically, the government was holding a simulation of the July 30 vote to elect a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) while the opposition was organizing an unofficial referendum of its own to gauge public support for or rejection of the ANC.

Canada and Mexico were among the countries that issued statements Sunday evening lauding the opposition vote.

Fox said he left Venezuela as planned Monday and hadn't been personally notified of any action by the Venezuelan government.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said on Twitter that he is declaring Fox persona non grata for conspiring to promote violence foreign intervention.

The central question before voters concerned Maduro's intention to hold an election on July 30 to choose 545 members of a citizens' body called the "Constituent Assembly" that would redo the constitution. Moncada did not provide evidence to back his claims. Opposition parties blame the shooting on pro-government paramilitaries.

The chief prosecutor's office said Xiomara Soledad Scott, a nurse, had been killed and four others wounded in the incident.

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Mr Maduro made no mention of the incident in comments on state television shortly after the official close of opposition polls but called for an end to violence that he blamed on the opposition.

Maduro and his officials have repeatedly said the opposition's poll is not a legitimate electoral procedure and called the results "meaningless". "Let's start a new round of talks, of dialogue for peace".

More than 100,000 people turned out to vote in South Florida.

It is unclear what changes Maduro plans to enact, but opposition members fear any branch of government that doesn't fall in line with Maduro will be left powerless. "Today we're following his legacy, with President Nicolas Maduro ..." Nearly all of the answers were related to the "yes" "He said when confirming the voters' rejection of the Constituent Assembly".

The country's parliament, the National Assembly, is governed by the opposition: a group that has continued to criticise the encroachment of socialism.

"The ruling Socialist Party can not win a free and fair election of any kind, and the Constituent Assembly is created to resolve their collective electability problem by tilting the electoral playing field in one direction", Eurasia consultancy said.

"I was mugged three times in a year, " Monique recounted, and said her husband's house was broken into. "There's no separation of powers, no freedom of expression".

The bishops have called for there a "Day of Prayer and Fasting" to be held on 21 July in order to ask "God to bless the attempts of the Venezuelan people to achieve liberty, justice and peace". Do they reject the constitutional assembly? They also want any and all political prisoners to be released.

He said some media had passed off photos of government supporters participating in the practice run as if they were opposition sympathisers at their referendum event.

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