Venezuelans Rally as Constituent Assembly Campaign Closes


Caracas-The electoral campaign for members of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly ended on Thursday with tens of thousands of people attending a large event in the capital city of Caracas.

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 this Sunday, July 30th.

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 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 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.

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UN Regards Meeting between Pope Francis and Kiril as Historical

United Nations -The General Secretariat of the United Nations called the meeting in Havana, Cuba, between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiril, as historical.

In statements to the press here, the spokesman for the Secretary-General of the UN, Stephane Dujarric, said that Ban Ki-moon is happy for the meeting of February 12 in the Caribbean island.

According to the reporters, and the matters Francis and Kiril will talk in Havana, Dujarric dismissed commenting.

"It is a meeting planned for a long time, and does not correspond to the UN Secretary-General to suggest topics," he said.

This is the first meeting between the heads of these two churches, apparently the first step to a possible visit by a Supreme Pontiff to Russia.

According to the Vatican, the personal interview will occur in the José Martí international airport in Havana, and will end with the signing of a joint statement.

 

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Culture


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¨Doctor and Professor, we congratulate you with love, admiration and respect. You really deserve it,¨the Cuban president live-tweeted attaching an article about the decoration published in the national newspaper Granma.

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