Candidate in Venezuela’s Constitutent Assembly vote shot dead
Deadly violence erupted around a controversial vote held in Venezuela on Sunday, with a candidate to the all-powerful assembly being elected shot dead in his home and troops firing weapons to clear protesters in Caracas.
The unrest highlighted the tensions over the vote called by beleaguered President Nicolas Maduro despite months of demonstrations and fierce international criticism. He is gambling his four-year rule on the 545-member citizens’ “Constituent Assembly” empowered to dissolve the opposition-controlled congress and change laws as it reforms the nation’s constitution. A candidate for the new body in Venezuela’s southeastern town of Ciudad Bolivar, 39-year-old lawyer Jose Felix Pineda, was killed from multiple shots fired by assailants who broke into his home overnight, prosecutors said. He was the second candidate to be murdered, after the July 10 death of another, Jose Luis Rivas, as he was campaigning in the northern city of Maracay. In the west of Caracas, national guard troops fanning out to put down any disruption to the election used armored vehicles and fired shots to disperse protesters blocking roads.