Venezuelan Baseball Legends Are Encouraging People to Vote in Opposition Referendum

Lead Photo: Anti-government protesters bang pots and pans while marching in San Cristobal, Venezuela.
Anti-government protesters bang pots and pans while marching in San Cristobal, Venezuela.
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On July 16, the Venezuelan opposition will be holding an unofficial plesbicito–a sort of referendum–to gauge public opinion on the future of political power in the country. Sunday’s referendum addresses three key questions surrounding President Nicolás Maduro’s attempt to elect a new National Constituent Assembly (ANC) that would likely tighten his hold on the South American country.

The questions posed by the opposition plesbicito are as follows:

  1. Do you refuse and disavow the constituent proposal that Nicolás Maduro is trying to push through without the approval of the Venezuelan public?
  2. Do you demand that the National Armed Forces and all public officials uphold and defend the 1999 Constitution and support the decisions made by the National Assembly?
  3. Do you approve the renovation of the Public Powers according to the Constitution, and the holding of free and transparent elections, conforming to the National Government of the Union so that we may reinstate constitutional order?

Ahead of the plesbicito, Venezuelan figures from all walks of life have taken to social media to encourage their compatriots to vote in order to preserve some semblance of a democracy in the country. Voting centers have been set up throughout Venezuela, and in over 75 countries worldwide, so that those who have left their homeland can still participate in the process. You can find relevant information about where to vote on the Unidad Venezuela website, here.

To that end, Venezuelan baseball legends–such as Omar Vizquel, Andrés Galarraga, and Wilson Álvarez–have recorded messages encouraging voter turnout, in hopes of curbing the powers being exploited by Maduro and the executive branch. These messages follow Miguel Cabrera’s emotional Instagram story earlier this week, which touched on the situation in Venezuela, which has seen over 90 deaths in the last 100 days of protests.

It’s not just legendary peloteros sending out messages, either; young prospects Anthony Pereira, Alfred Gutiérrez, José Quero, Anthony Castro, Eudis Idrogo, and Eduardo Jiménez recorded their own video urging voters to participate.

The plesbicito is seeing furious opposition from Maduro and the ruling party, who are expected to ignore the “political theater” in order to host their own elections on July 30 for the ANC, which most observers expect to be tilted heavily in their favor. As of now, polls show that up to 80% of Venezuelans oppose the ANC, however, which means that a successful result from the opposition plesbicito could show the global community that the administration is acting against the interests and desires of its people.