Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke at Bolivar Avenue just three days before the election, which he called the only path to achieve peace in the country and despite opposition’s call to boycott the elections, he urge then to dialogue to find a solution for the current political climate before the vote on Sunday, July 30.
The electoral campaign for members of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly ended Thursday with tens of thousands of people attending a huge rally in the capital city of Caracas.
“I want peace, reunification and national dialogue,” Maduro said. “Do you want to give a lesson to these violent people? On Sunday the 30, you have to go out and vote in peace for the National Constituent Assembly,” Maduro said.
“The National Constituent Assembly belongs to you, and no one else,” he told the crowd.
He also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for demanding Venezuela stop the National Constituent Assembly election.
“What do we do? Who do we answer to?” Maduro asked Venezuelans on the streets. “The people,” answered the crowd.
Maduro said the vote on Sunday was a vote against imperialism and against Trump, following yesterday’s announcement of U.S. sanctions on 13 Venezuelan senior officials.
“On Sunday we will choose between a free country or a dominated colony,” Maduro said.
The closing event featured hundreds of candidates giving their final speeches outlining their proposals for the constituent body which will be rewriting the country’s constitution following the vote on Sunday, July 30.
Since Wednesday, thousands of people have turned out to hear the speeches before the election called by President Nicolas Maduro to arrive at a peaceful solution through dialogue to the current political situation in the country.
Nearly 20 million Venezuelans are expected to choose from 6,120 candidates representing diverse sectors and territories of society for the 545-member assembly.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Palace of Miraflores, Maduro invited everyone to attend the rally in support of the elections. He said Chavistas and members of the ruling PSUV party will ensure all citizens can exercise their right to vote without any threats. “We are going to make a wonderful act of reaffirmation of peace with the Constituent Assembly, preparing for peace.”
Meanwhile, some parts of the opposition have called for a boycott of the election and have rejected Maduro’s repeated calls for dialogue.
Opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the Bolivarian government began in early April and in addition to over 100 killed, some 1,200 have been injured. The right-wing MUD coalition has maintained its belligerent position, calling for a week of actions in hopes of disrupting the elections, which have by and large failed to gain any significant support.
On Wednesday, the U.S. government announced sanctions on 13 Venezuelan senior officials making good on threats by President Donald Trump, who said if Venezuela goes ahead with the July 30 election, the U.S. would impose “strong and swift” sanctions on the South American country.