MEANWHILE, BACK IN VENEZUELA: The opposition is holding an unofficial referendum today. The referendum is designed to “increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro as he seeks to create a legislative superbody that his adversaries call the consolidation of a dictatorship.”
The opposition has cast the vote, which begins at 7 a.m. local time at some 2,000 centers around the country, as an act of civil disobedience to be followed by “zero hour,” a possible reference to a national strike or other escalated actions against Maduro.
But the vote does not appear to augur a short-term change of government or a solution to the country’s political stalemate.
Maduro, 54, says Sunday’s plebiscite is illegal and meaningless. Instead, the leftist leader is campaigning for an official July 30 vote for the new assembly, which will be able to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions.