Venezuela military stands behind controversial vote

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PV International Desk : Venezuela’s military reaffirmed its loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday by saying its forces would protect a controversial vote he has called for next week to elect a body to rewrite the constitution.

The declaration, read out by Maduro’s defense minister, General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, marked another official rejection of a threat by President Donald Trump to impose economic sanctions on Venezuela if the vote proceeds.

Padrino Lopez said Venezuela’s armed forces, which he controls as operational commander, recognize the “legitimate nature” of Maduro’s plan to have a body called a constituent assembly elected.

“As such, soldiers will deploy on July 30 across all the national territory… to guarantee the complete exercise of the right to vote by all Venezuelans,” he said.

Venezuela’s opposition, which held a symbolic election last weekend in which more than a third of the country’s voters rejected Maduro’s plan, says the constituent assembly is a way for the president to hold on to power through “Cuba-like” dictatorial measures.