Venezuelans are stockpiling scarce food and water as tensions mount ahead of a widely criticized Sunday vote that President Nicolas Maduro has called to elect an assembly of supporters to rewrite the constitution and strengthen his grip on power.
Maduro -- who’s presided over an increasingly autocratic regime that has imperiled the country’s six-decade democracy and left the economy and society in shambles -- is showing few signs of backing down despite growing pressure. He’s broadcast a deluge of propaganda supporting the assembly even as outraged opposition leaders called a general strike Wednesday to forestall it. And opposition is international: The Trump administration sanctioned 13 senior Venezuela officials Wednesday, including the interior minister and the national oil company’s vice president for finance. The head of the Organization of American States has called for elections and Spain’s former prime minister is trying to broker a deal.