Venezuela's Maduro slams 'insolent' United States sanctions

Bulgaria Nicolas Maduro Declared that the American Sanctions are Illegal

"The call we've made for the coming days will require each of you to ask yourselves what role you have to play in Venezuela's rescue", said Freddy Guevara, opposition leader and vice president of the National Assembly. They say President Nicolas Maduro's administration has failed to reimburse them amid strict currency controls. He said Chavistas and members of the ruling PSUV party will ensure all citizens can exercise their right to vote without any threats. Millions took part in a one-day strike from last Wednesday, during which five people died in clashes.

Clashes between demonstrators and security forces have left at least 100 people dead, and the government has announced plans to deploy 132,000 soldiers to guard 14,515 voting stations across the country on election day.

Maduro says he is going ahead with Sunday's election for the Constituent Assembly as the only way to empower the people and bring peace to Venezuela.

"The government has to stop its plan for a constituent assembly", Venezuela's Union leader Aldo Torres said.

In Washington, US officials said sanctions could be expanded to include a potentially devastating halt of dollar payments for the country's oil or a total ban on oil imports to the United States.

In addition to the strike, the opposition has vowed to continue to stage protests, including a massive march scheduled to take place in Caracas on Friday.

USA officials say the Venezuelan government could face additional sanctions that could hit the country's oil industry.

The country's chief prosecutor reported Thursday on Twitter that a 16-year-old was killed at a protest in the capital overnight while a 23-year-old man was slain at a demonstration in Merida state. And under no circumstance should the United States intervene directly against Maduro's government.

Thirteen countries in the 35-member Organization of American States, a regional political bloc, urged Maduro to suspend Sunday's election, saying it amounted to a "dismantling of democratic institutionality".

"I will bestow a very, very special honour on this group of Venezuelans", Maduro said, calling the sanctions "shameless measures".

Maduro accuses the U.S. of fomenting the unrest against him and his government, with the help of the conservative opposition.

Thousands of Venezuelans have fled into neighboring Colombia this week, while many of those who stayed behind believe ousting Maduro is their only hope.

The oil export-dependent economy will shrink 12 per cent this year, the International Monetary Fund predicts.

Venezuelans overwhelmingly rejected Maduro's plans in a non-binding referendum organized by the opposition last week, with 98.4 percent of voting against them.

But some 70 per cent of Venezuelans are opposed to the Constituent Assembly, according to polling firm Datanalisis. They warn the new constitution will formalize a Maduro dictatorship and undermine democracy.

The airline had cited security considerations when it announced yesterday its intentions to withdraw from Venezuela, which has been rocked by months of anti-government protests and street violence.

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