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News day / “It’s going to be like a hurricane coming to Trinidad. We need to be prepared,” Gonzalez said. She saw yesterday’s exercise to craft a Constituent Assembly as a sham perpetrated by the Venezuelan Government led by President Nicolas Maduro which she added, violates established norms and that country’s Constitution.

Gonzalez lamented that ten people had died yesterday in the latest round of violence linked to Venezuela’s political standoff between Maduro supporters and Opposition supporters.

“They are trying to hide it and say ‘all is well’…but that is not so,” Gonzalez said. She said reports reaching her were of a very low voter turnout for the Constituent Assembly yesterday, with those participating being people afraid of losing their jobs and going hungry as a punishment for not voting.

She said many Venezuelans are so fed up with being unemployed and hungry that they are no longer afraid to die in a confrontation with the country’s pro-Maduro security forces.

“I’m very sad and distressed.

Venezuela is a beautiful country but now it is heading to civil war.” She claimed the Venezuelan administration contains some “corrupt and evil people.” While saying there could be an influx of Venezuelans into this country, Gonzalez noted that many of her countrymen who fled to Trinidad are not faring any better although there is political stability in this country. She is calling on the Immigration Division and TT public to be compassionate towards Venezuelans who have fled their homeland.

She said TT has many Venezuelans who are hungry and for whom she is collecting food.

Anyone keen to donate can call 638-8841 or 678-0734. “People are hiding everywhere in Trinidad.

We collect food and medicine for them.” Gonzalez said Venezuelan women are languishing in detention centres without access to basic personal hygienic items such as sanitary pads. Others fall victim to exploitation by unscrupulous people, she lamented.

“Women detained here are sleeping on the ground. I’m getting lots of complaints,” Gonzalez said. She said the Living Waters Community is fully stretched. “Trinidadians by and large are very kind and helpful people. But some are exploiting Venezuelans through human trafficking and forcing them into sex labour. I don’t like to see women being abused.” Gonzalez said yesterday’s attempt by the Maduro Government to change the Constitution would bring a bad outcome.

“Maduro has to go. All the voting stations are empty.

They are not allowing the media in. The Guardia Nacional is crowding around the stations.” She did not trust yesterday’s voting process, saying it was being controlled by the Venezuela Government. “We say ‘no’ to the Constituent Assembly. It is a fraud, a fail. Maduro must go!” (See page 43A)

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