Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was pushing forward Saturday with a controversial weekend vote, despite growing domestic political opposition, global condemnation and deadly street protests.
Maduro's regime has forbidden protests through Tuesday, saying violators will face prison terms of five to 10 years.
Critics like Rubio fear, however, that Maduro's true motive is to hold a vote to dissolve Congress, push through a new constitution and keep himself in total power of the already impoverished nation where soaring inflation and high crime run rampant. The deaths raised to 105 the number of people killed since April 1 in clashes with security forces.
The election comes after months of sometimes deadly protests as an economic crisis has led many to flee the country in search of easier access to food and medicine.
Several countries and global organizations, including the US and European Union, have condemned the vote for Sunday.
Government officials and candidates for the Constituent Assembly wrapped up campaigning on Thursday with a rally in Caracas with Maduro.
The constituent assembly has a "fake origin and therefore, the results will not be recognized", Santos said while in the coastal city of Barranquilla for a celebratory event. "I propose to the Venezuelan political opposition that they abandon the path of insurrection, return to the constitution, and shortly before the election ... open a table of dialogue, national agreement, and reconciliation", Maduro reportedly said.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of Maduro's most vocal opponents, said in a meeting with two other USA legislators that he expects further sanctions if the assembly vote proceeds. "If the US wishes to help Venezuela resolve its political and economic crises, it needs to put aside talk of further sanctions and instead push both sides to reinitiate dialogue and support the ongoing efforts of former Spanish President Zapatero and Pope Francis to bring the two sides to the negotiating table".
Sunday's election for a constituent assembly to overhaul the country's charter has drawn worldwide outcry and opposition protests. The unprecedented ruling transferred legislative powers to the Supreme Court, which is comprised of judges nominated by Maduro. Eric Farnsworth, vice-president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society in Washington, said the vote will be the end of democracy in Venezuela. It is also calling for more protests over the weekend to disrupt the vote, even as the government has said it will crack down on what it considers to be illegal demonstrations.
Responding to questions, Ms. Throssell said the situation in the country is "very tense and hard". As of late Friday, few appeared to have heeded the calls.
A top Cuban official said his country had no intention of trying to mediate a solution to Venezuela's crisis, rejecting the idea of what he called "foreign meddling" and voicing full support for Maduro, a key ideological and economic ally of the island's government.
The United Nations has expressed concern about the risk of further violence in Venezuela.
With surveys showing that nearly 70 percent of Venezuelans oppose the assembly, the government wants to avoid embarrassingly low turnout in a ballot being boycotted by the opposition.
Maduro is aligned with the political movement of Hugo Chavez, the President from 1999 until his death in 2013.
The state prosecutor's office said four people died on Thursday amid the unrest: A 49-year-old man in Carabobo state, a 23 year-old in Lara state, a 29 year-old in Anzoategui state and a 16-year old in the middle class Caracas area of El Paraiso.
Voters Sunday will elect a 545-seat assembly that essentially would replace the opposition-led National Assembly and will have the power to change the constitution - changes that Maduro wants.
While businesses probably continued to carefully manage their inventories, they appeared to spend more in some places. That would follow two straight quarters when investment in homebuilding supported GDP growth.
Greece said on Tuesday its comeback to the bond markets after a three-year absence was an "absolute success". The return to the markets comes after tension over Greece's latest bailout programme in recent months eased.
However, reports in L'Equipe today claim that the 19-year-old has agreed a four year deal with Serie A big spenders, AC Milan . Manchester United had also been linked to Sanches, who's agent is Jorge Mendes, who also represents Jose Mourinho.
Earlier, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership will "freeze contacts" with Israel "on all levels". They refused to enter, preferring to pray outside, in some cases filling the narrow alleyways of the Old City's Muslim quarter.
House recently passed the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, a harmful bill that would delay life-saving ozone standards. Republican leaders openly discussed the possibility of McCain's return with reporters on Monday during an evening vote.
The California Highway Patrol report states that the two girls were sitting in the backseat and were not wearing seatbelts. The video has since been deleted from social media sites, but not before being viewed and shared by numerous users.
Al Aqsa Mosque is believed to be the third-holiest site for Sunni Muslims, after the cities of Mecca and Medina. The UN Security Council will hold talks Monday about a new wave of deadly Israeli-Palestinian unrest.
Sri Lanka was 68-3 in its reply when Kusal Mendis fell for a duck to give Mohammed Shami his second wicket in an over. At 432 for five, India was staring at a Sri Lankan outfit that suddenly found its spark.
The Senate is dedicating this week to having an open amendment process that lets lawmakers offer their ideas to change the bill. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed the vote for debate.
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