Venezuela's Maduro Asks the World to Accept Controversial Vote

The Problem with Venezuela and the Western Media

Lucena said the election process for the National Constituent Assembly is audited by local and worldwide entities, and that her organization will ensure and protect the Venezuelan people's right to vote, despite recent threats by the opposition to stage violent protests and prevent the election.

Maduro has previously said that his plan for a national assembly would "modify" the "rotten National Assembly that's now there", and the elected constituents would represent all sectors of Venezuelan society.

President Maduro, widely disliked for overseeing an economic collapse during his four years in office, has promised the assembly will restore peace after months of protests during which more than 115 people have been killed.

Ricardo Campos, who worked as a youth secretary with the opposition Accion Democratica party, was also killed during protests today.

In this regard, he said that the people have been firm to defend the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez, the Liberator Simon Bolivar and other heroes in the history of Venezuela.

Maduro, who this week decreed a ban on anti-government demonstrations ahead of the vote, called the new body a "triumph".

In the west of the city, national guard troops fanned out, using armored vehicles, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse protesters blocking roads.

Government leaders have suggested it will swiftly take measures against chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who has openly criticized the assembly vote, as well as the opposition congress.

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Dozens of Venezuelans are gathering early at voting centers in Caracas' Petare neighborhood, saying they plan to cast ballots because they hope for improvements in their lives.

'According to the Constitution of the Republic, the call for the original power through the National Constituent Assembly is a political and human right, ' he reiterated.

The US, the European Union and Latin American powers, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, have come out against the election, saying it would destroy Venezuelan democracy.

Venezuelans on Sunday vote for a constitutional super-body expected to hand sweeping new powers to ruling Socialist Party officials and potentially extend their unpopular rule in the convulsed OPEC nation.

Several foreign airlines, including Air France, Delta, Avianca and Iberia have suspended flights to the country over worries about security.

The Constituent Assembly would have the power to rewrite the Constitution and shut down the existing opposition-led legislature, which the opposition maintains would cement dictatorship in Venezuela.

Neighboring Colombia - a refuge for tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing the chaos at home - has said it would not recognize the results of Sunday's election in Venezuela.

The United States, which is the largest market for Venezuelan oil, last week sanctioned 13 Socialist Party leaders, in part as a response to the election. Two diplomats resigned this week in dissent: one at the United Nations and another at the embassy in Panama.

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