Venezuela

Miraflores Palace via AP

Venezuela’s socialist regime claims 8 million voters turned out on Sunday to OK its plan to rewrite the constitution and form a dictatorship. But the company that counts Venezuela’s votes cried fraud on Tuesday.

The results of Venezuela's controversial vote to create a new legislature and give President Nicolas Maduro broad authoritarian powers were "tampered with," to change turnout figures, according to the CEO of the firm that provided the election system.

The news may support opposition charges that the results were inflated to add credibility to the vote, which established a National Constituent Assembly beholden to Maduro.

Speaking at a news briefing in London, Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said the results of Sunday's poll were off by at least one million.

Fears of a dictatorship forming in Venezuela seemed borne out early Tuesday  when the government hauled opposition leaders to jail. But this is shaping up to be a bad week for democracy and free enterprise across the Caribbean.

Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, had promised to jail many of his opponents once a new constituent assembly was elected on Sunday. That body will now rewrite Venezuela’s constitution to give Maduro sweeping new executive powers that critics call a dictatorship.

Two of Venezuela's leading opposition figures were taken from their homes in the middle of the night by state security agents on Tuesday, in President Nicolas Maduro's first moves against his enemies since a widely denounced vote giving his government nearly unlimited powers.

Read more: Venezuelan Vote: Violence At Home, Rejection Abroad

The wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez posted what appeared to be video of him being taken from their home after midnight.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

A weekend vote in Venezuela to choose a "constituent assembly" that will rewrite the country's constitution - but which critics say will create a Cuba-style dictatorship - led to widespread violence and international rejection of the outcome.

On Monday, President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Venezuela's socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, branding him a "dictator." Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called the so-called constituyente election "a sham."

U.S. Sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro After ‘Sham’ Vote

Jul 31, 2017
Miraflores press office via AP

The Trump administration froze assets, banned travel and prohibited business transactions Monday for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, accusing him of undermining democracy after he carried out an election Sunday for an all-powerful new legislative assembly in defiance of warnings from the U.S. and international community.

Updated July 31 at 6:50 a.m. ET

Months of opposition to President Nicolas Maduro's plan to strengthen his party's power has resulted in more fatal clashes on the day of the election.

Citing Venezuela's chief prosecutor's office, the Associated Press reports 10 people were killed in Sunday's unrest. The opposition claims 16 people have been killed.

"Seven police officers were wounded when an explosion went off as they drove past piles of trash that had been used to blockade a street in an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas," the AP says.

Ariana Cubillos / Associated Press

Venezuelans stayed away from the polls in massive numbers on Sunday in a show of protest against a vote to grant President Nicolas Maduro's ruling socialist party virtually unlimited powers in the face of a brutal socio-economic crisis and a grinding battle against its political opponents and groups of increasingly alienated and violent young protesters.

Associated Press

The Trump administration plans to sanction 13 Venezuelans tied to the government of President Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday, four days before the South American nation plans to hold a vote that the U.S. says will turn Maduro’s rule into a dictatorship.

Associated Press

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which has taken heat for its purchase of $2.8 billion in bonds of Venezuela's state-run oil company, is working behind the scenes as Gov. Rick Scott seeks to prevent Florida from doing business with entities supporting the Maduro regime.

Scott hasn't outlined details of the proposal he intends to put before the state Cabinet on Aug. 16. But just saying he wants to make a change that could affect the state's investments has drawn attention from the Wall Street firm.

Empty streets, makeshift barricades, burning tires, signs scrawled with "No to dictatorship": Protests continue on the streets of Venezuela as a 24-hour general strike takes hold, the latest development in an ongoing political and economic crisis.

Some citizens are trying to go to work despite the shutdown of public transportation; others are taking to blockaded streets in protest. There is widespread fear of more bloodshed after months of conflict and dozens of deaths.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes to tweet verses from the Book of Proverbs, an Old Testament favorite among conservatives that says, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

You could paraphrase that to describe the Republican Senator’s diplomatic philosophy: “Fear of America is the beginning of foreign policy.”

Rubio clings to the Cold War belief that the U.S. can and should make every geopolitical rogue from Cuba to North Korea cry uncle. So does President Trump.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN.org

More than 100,000 Venezuelan expats came out to vote in South Florida Sunday in a hastily arranged election that officially means nothing - but which could end up meaning a lot if the international community is paying attention.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

Just two weeks before an election to decide the delegates who will rewrite Venezuela's Constitution, opposition activists held a symbolic vote of their own on Sunday. In the nonbinding referendum, roughly 98 percent of voters rejected President Nicolas Maduro's plan to replace the constitution.

Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

More than 100,000 Venezuelans gathered in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties on Sunday to vote against president Nicolas Maduro's efforts to change the country's constitution.

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