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President promises strong and swift action

President promises strong and swift action

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   CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- The Latest on Venezuela's political confrontation, 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."

Earlier developments---

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.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox says he welcomes the decision by Venezuela's socialist government to bar him from the country.

In his words: "I am very honored at this recognition from this dictatorial government."

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada said on Twitter that he is declaring Fox persona non grata for conspiring to promote violence foreign intervention. Moncada offered no evidence to support his accusations.

Fox was in Venezuela Saturday with other Latin American former presidents to witness an opposition referendum against the government's plan to rewrite the country's constitution. Fox told The Associated Press Monday the trip was aimed at guaranteeing the transparency of the referendum.

Fox said he left Venezuela as planned Monday and hadn't been personally notified of any action by the Venezuelan government. Fox said he would continue to work for a democratic transition in the South American country.

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