The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) announced late last night that, with 95% of all votes counted, 7,186,170 Venezuelans cast their ballots in yesterday’s historic plebiscite on the future of the country.
The “yes” vote won with an outstanding 98.4% of ballots cast. Broken down into the three individual questions, these were the results:
- Do you reject and disown the National Constituent Assembly as convened by Nicolas Maduro without first consulting the Venezuelan people? [YES: 98.4%]
- Do you demand that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces obey and defend the
1999 Constitution, and that it support the decisions made by the National Assembly? [YES: 98.5%]
- Do you approve of the renewal of public institutions according to what is established in the Constitution, along with the carrying out of elections and the creation of a new national unity government? [YES: 98.3%]
In the two weeks prior to yesterday’s vote, opposition figures described the importance of the event by saying that Venezuela would enter a “zero hour” after the vote.
Cecilia Garcia Arocha, the rector of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, said that 6,492,381 votes were cast in Venezuela, while the remaining 693,789 were cast abroad.
Garcia also spoke on the remarkable logistical feats that led to yesterday’s vote, saying:
This was a process that was organized in 15 days. Despite this, the country showed that it wants to achieve its goals through voting, and that it wants democratic change. This country sent a clear message to the national Executive.
Machado: Zero Hour Starts Today
The head of the Vente Venezuela opposition party, Maria Corina Machado, reacted to yesterday’s vote by reiterating that Venezuela had entered a critical point in its history.
In a series of tweets this morning, Machado said:
Today, a new Venezuela awakens. The people spoke clearly and gave a mandate: Maduro and his regime must leave NOW.
7.2 million Venezuelans [engaged in] civil disobedience simultaneously across the entire world. That’s incredible! The regime knows this.
Yesterday, we built up the strength and legitimacy to enter the definitive stage against the dictatorship: zero hour. It starts today.
MUD Announces “Zero Hour” Actions
During a press conference held shortly after the noon hour, the MUD announced its steps over the next few days as part of its “zero hour” actions against the Maduro regime.
National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara announced that the legislature would move ahead with appointing a new set of magistrates to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) this week, in accordance with the result of yesterday’s plebiscite. The move is likely to plunge the country further into chaos, as it will likely result in Venezuela having two parallel Supreme Courts at the same time.
Guevara also announced a national “civil stoppage” that will last for 24 hours all of Thursday.
While making the announcement, Guevara said:
If the regime insists on ignoring the decision that has been taken by Venezuelans, we must all we must all work to impose our sovereignty. We are ready and willing to take whatever actions we have to take in order to build a country for all of us.
MUD: Figures Are Clear Sign for Maduro
National Assembly president Julio Borges spoke at the end of yesterday’s electoral proceedings and congratulated the Venezuelan people on expressing their will at ballot boxes in and out of the country.
Borges summarized yesterday’s historic vote by saying:
The people overcame every obstacle. Not only were there fewer [voting centres than in the 2015 parliamentary elections], but they also overcame fear, violence; public employees overcame threats from the government, [and so did] the people who receive social assistance…
Speaking on the significance of yesterday’s voter turnout, Borges turned to the topic of last year’s cancelled recall referendum. After months of delays and bureaucratic wheel-spinning, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) cancelled the recall process against Maduro. At the time, the move was universally criticized as a desperate attempt by Maduro to remain in power, given the grounded fear that he would certainly lose the vote.
Mathematically, Maduro has been recalled with today’s votes. That’s why they feared the recall referendum, and that’s why they stopped it from happening. That’s why this government does not want to hold any more elections.
Borges also spoke on how he hopes that the PSUV reacts to yesterday’s plebiscite:
Let us hope that those who hold power in Venezuela have the strength and the humility to understand the message that Venezuela sent today.
Pastrana Calls Vote Unprecedented
Former Colombian president Andres Pastrana–who formed part of a group of international observers for yesterday’s vote–spoke plainly on the plebiscite, saying:
We haven’t seen anything like what we saw today.
Pastrana also congratulated the Venezuelan people on their “victory” yesterday, and explained what he meant by the word:
I say “victory” because democracy won here today.
Regime Names Vicente Fox Persona Non Grata
Foreign Affairs Minister Samuel Moncada named former Mexican president Vicente Fox persona non grata in Venezuela yesterday, following Fox’s departure from Venezuela. Fox was in the country as part of a team of international observers who participated in the plebiscite.
Fox commented yesterday on the outpouring of support for the plebiscite, and said that what he saw in Venezuela yesterday reminded him of an election in Mexico 17 years ago that saw the PRI party ousted after 70 years in power. Fox said:
This reminds me of July 2, 2000 in Mexico, that great democratic festivity (…) the people were just like this, full of happiness, enthusiasm and hope. That’s what you’re living here today.
Fox also spoke to Venezuelans who were in line at a voting centre yesterday, and said through a megaphone:
It is now the Venezuelan people’s turn to direct this great country, rebuild the economy, regain jobs, and food and medicine. Mexico is with you!
Fox’s comments so offended the Maduro regime that they resulted in Moncada’s announcement, which the foreign minister made my saying:
[Fox] was paid to come to Venezuela to promote violence and foreign intervention (…) he wanted to provoke the authorities in order to put on a media show to serve the evil interests of those who hired him (…) as foreign minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I declare Mr. Vicente Fox persona non grata.
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