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Venezuela’s bishops back opposition plebiscite; shots fired on crowd outside church

July 18, 2017

Amid rising malnutrition and fears of a future Marxist dictatorship, over seven million Venezuelans took part in an unofficial plebiscite on July 16 on President Nicolas Maduro’s proposal to convoke an assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution.

The symbolic vote was organized by the opposition party, which holds a majority of seats in the nation’s legislature. Over 98% of participants in the symbolic plebiscite voted against the proposal to change the constitution.

The Venezuelan bishops declared that the plebiscite enjoys “full legitimacy,” and the bishops’ Twitter feed featured photographs of several bishops voting.

After Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Catia, armed Maduro supporters fired on a crowd of voters outside the church, killing one person and injuring several others. Hundreds took refuge in the church until the cardinal was able to mediate their safe departure.

 
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