CARACAS – Many polling centers, set up for next Sunday’s elections to form the Constituent Assembly (ANC) promoted by the Venezuelan government to rewrite the constitution, were papered Monday by the opposition with signs demanding the suspension of that vote.
Slogans against “constituent fraud” and calls for President Nicolas Maduro to resign covered the walls of polling centers around Caracas, while groups of local residents demonstrated in front of their closed doors against the ruling party’s plan to chuck the existing constitution and write a new one.
“No voting here” said several posters on a school that will be used as a polling center on July 30 on Las Palmas Avenue in downtown Caracas.
The MUD coalition of opposition parties rejects the constituent process set in motion by Maduro without giving voters the chance to express their approval or disapproval, and sees the Constituent Assembly as a tactic to “consolidate the dictatorship” in Venezuela.
The action Monday of papering polling centers is the first planned for this week. Also programmed is a 48-hour general strike (Wednesday and Thursday) that aims to halt all activity in the streets, as a way of pressuring Maduro into abandoning the Constituent Assembly.
The MUD has urged all Venezuelans to come to the capital Friday, which it has dubbed “the taking of Caracas,” and with which it hopes to send the government a resounding message of rejection for the ANC.
If the government goes ahead with its plan, the opposition has announced that it will carry out an agenda of civil disobedience to stop the voting in the two days set aside for it.
The call to paper the polls Monday against the Constituent Assembly included an appeal to try to convince the troops, who protect polling centers in every Venezuelan election, that they block the Sunday vote.
At centers observed by EFE, however, there were no soldiers guarding the installations.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez described Saturday’s opposition protest as an irresponsible “provocation,” and warned of “unpredictable consequences” for those who take part in these “partisan demonstrations” at the polling centers, protected by a statute defining special security zones.