State Dept Slams Venezuelan Elections, Vows 'Strong and Swift' Response

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Jul 31, 2017 8:15 AM
State Dept Slams Venezuelan Elections, Vows 'Strong and Swift' Response

The State Department slammed Venezuela on Sunday for electing a powerful National Constituent Assembly, vowing “strong and swift actions against the architects of authoritarianism.”

Releasing a statement about what they deemed a flawed election, which would concentrate power under President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters, the State Department said, "The United States stands by the people of Venezuela, and their constitutional representatives, in their quest to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy."

"We will continue to take strong and swift actions against the architects of authoritarianism in Venezuela, including those who participate in the National Constituent Assembly as a result of today’s flawed election,” the statement continued. 

Venezuelan electoral authorities said on Sunday that more than 8 million people voted to create a constitutional assembly endowing Maduro's ruling socialist party with virtually unlimited powers.

Members of the opposition said they believed between 2 million and 3 million people voted and one well-respected independent analysis put the number at 3.6 million.

An exit poll based on surveys from 110 voting centers by New York investment bank Torino Capital and a Venezuela public opinion company estimated 3.6 million people voted, or about 18.5 percent of registered voters.

"The results thus suggest that the government maintains an important loyal core of supporters that it can mobilize in both electoral and non-electoral scenarios," the report concluded.

The same exit poll also noted that Venezuela has an estimated 2.6 million government employees, "suggesting that a large fraction of the votes could have not been voluntary." (Fox News)

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., also denounced the “sham” elections. 

“Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship. We won't accept an illegit govt. The Venezuelan ppl & democracy will prevail,” she said on Twitter. 

Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, and Britain joined the U.S. in saying they would not recognized the vote in Venezuela.