Venezuelan ambassador considers Constituent Assembly "resounding blow" to Trump

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-02 12:32:19|Editor: Zhou Xin
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HAVANA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Elections for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela represent a "resounding blow" to U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies, Venezuela's ambassador to Cuba said Tuesday.

"Elections for the ANC had a very high turnout and it is a resounding blow for Mr. Trump and his allies in the region. The U.S. failed in its strategy to provoke violence in our country and derail the elections," said Ali Rodriguez at a press conference.

More than 8 million Venezuelans voted on Sunday to elect 537 of the total 545 members of the ANC, according to the country's electoral authorities. The ANC is tasked to draft a new constitution to strengthen social protections, communal programs and a diversified economy, among other goals.

The record high voter turnout sent a "strong message" to the international community, Rodriguez said.

Venezuela's opposition groups, with full support of the White House and other regional governments, had campaigned and protested for months to prevent the elections from taking place on Sunday, but failed, said the ambassador.

Rodriguez expressed optimism that the ANC could put the country back on track, saying "now comes the economic recovery of the country."

"We must go after the main problems, particularly the chronic shortage of food and medicines," he added.

Participation in the elections signals that Venezuelans want to overcome the political crisis, as Rodriguez sees it.

"Venezuelans are peaceful and reject violence promoted by the right-wing opposition. With the approval of the constituent assembly, new measures to return to calm will be implemented," said the former foreign affairs minister.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed the constitutional initiative in May, saying it would help to resolve the political deadlock between the country's leftist and right-wing factions.

The right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), boycotted Sunday's vote, claiming that the ANC was an attempt by Maduro to consolidate power.

The United States labeled the elections a "sham" and announced personal sanctions against Maduro on Monday.