Trump warns Venezuela of ‘economic actions’

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela’s political confrontation (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is threatening “strong and swift economic actions” against Venezuela’s government if the its ruling party goes ahead with plans to rewrite the country’s constitution.

Trump says in a strongly-worded statement that, “The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.” He says “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.”

The opposition says more than 7 million Venezuelans voted on Sunday in a symbolic referendum rejecting a plan to rewrite the constitution and consolidate the ruling party’s power over the country, which has been stricken by shortages and inflation.

Trump says the Venezuelan people “again made clear” Sunday “that they stand for democracy, freedom, and rule of law” and calls President Nicolas Maduro a “bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.”

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3:40 p.m.

The White House is calling on Venezuelan authorities to cancel plans to form an assembly to rewrite the constitution and instead hold what it calls “free and fair elections.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the U.S. congratulates the Venezuelan people “for the huge turnout in the referendum” sponsored by the opposition to reject President Nicolas Maduro’s planned constitutional revamp. He’s praising “unmistakable statement that they made and delivered to their government.”

Spicer says the Trump administration condemns the “violence inflicted by government thugs against innocent voters and efforts by the government to erode democracy in Venezuela.”

The Venezuelan opposition says more than 7 million people participated in Sunday’s referendum.

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3:20 p.m.

The Brazilian government says an opposition-organized referendum in Venezuela is “unequivocal proof” that the people there want to see the restoration of the democratic rule of law.

A statement Monday from Brazil’s Foreign…

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