Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly to meet on Friday

Friday, 04 Aug, 2017

Another Venezuelan socialist propagandist, television host Mario Silva, said on a broadcast last month that the way to elect the ANC was to "beat the fuck out of all those motherfuckers and start arresting them ... from the Attorney General on down they should be in prison".

The decision led to national outcry, with the opposition claiming the ruling moved Venezuela closer to a dictatorship with Maduro at the helm.

Two opposition leaders were taken from their homes by security forces following a controversial vote - mere hours after the United States slapped the country with sanctions directly targeting President Nicolás Maduro.

"Nothing can stain this process, because it's transparent", said the Venezuelan leader at a meeting with the delegates elected to the new Constituent Assembly on Wednesday.

"They can do all they want". "They'd better not get amusing", Iris Varela, a member of the ANC, said this week.

The firm, Smartmatic, said in a London news conference that the official figures from the election were "tampered with" to make turnout appear greater than it was.

Maduro disputed the assertion Wednesday.

More than 100 people have been killed in clashes between anti-government activists and riot police in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, since demonstrations began in April.

Ortega also said they are considering reaching out to worldwide organizations, if they determine that crimes against humanity were committed.

Despite months of violent protests and global condemnation, Maduro insists it is the solution to a drawn-out economic and political crisis gripping Venezuela. Virtually all the new body's members are supporters of the leftist leader.

The head of the campaign for Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, Jorge Rodriguez, insisted that the only valid results oare those provided by the National Electoral Council, CNE, which orginally counted 8,089,320 votes.

Meanwhile, two judges named to Supreme Court posts by Venezuela's opposition-controlled legislature have sought protection at the Chilean embassy in Caracas, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz confirmed late Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called Maduro a "dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people". He also repeated the government's stance that eight million people voted, adding that the turnout would have been 10 million if others had not been blocked by protesters. Despite worldwide condemnation ahead of the poll-including sanctions against Venezuelan officials by the US-it took place anyway, and a violent response to protests led to 10 deaths.

The referendum asked voters three yes-no questions. That figure, however, was dismissed by many has unrealistically high, as there were no reports of long lines or crowds at polling stations.

"For the first time since I took up this commitment to the country, I can not guarantee the consistency or veracity of the results offered", said Luis Rondon, one of five directors of the electoral council in a statement on social media.

In her CNNE interview, Diaz spoke for the first time about the events that led her to become a vocal critic of the Venezuelan government after years of being a staunch Chavista. "We are here to show our rejection of the intervention of the United States", one demonstrator said during a televised rally, calling the sanctions "a political show with harmful economic consequences for the people of Venezuela".