Canada Bans Venezuelan Expats from Casting Ballots

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza slammed Canada for attempting to "curtail the Venezuelans' right to vote."

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Venezuela has criticized Canadian authorities for interfering with the rights of over 5,000 registered voters
Venezuela has criticized Canadian authorities for interfering with the rights of over 5,000 registered voters. (Reuters)

Canada is prohibiting its Venezuelan residents from voting in the coming May 20 presidential elections, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said during a press conference Wednesday.

Canadian authorities said they will not allow Venezuelan embassies or consulates in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver to install polling stations.

"They denounce that there is a dictatorship in Venezuela, but who is denying the right to vote? Only dictatorship countries do not allow citizens to exercise their right to vote, so I ask if Venezuela –according to some world nations – is a dictatorship, how is it that today Canada intends to curtail Venezuelans' right to vote?

"Who is preventing here the right to suffrage and to vote, the government of Venezuela or the government of Canada?" Arreaza said.

Arreaza criticized Canadian authorities for interfering with the rights of over 6,000 registered voters to participate in Sunday's presidential elections. The minister told Venezuelan residents in Canada they will be able to vote, instructing embassies to disregard the host nation's orders and install polling stations as planned.

"The electoral material has been distributed in embassies and consulates so that Venezuelans abroad can exercise their right to vote," said Arreaza

Arreaza also said he would send a diplomatic notice to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the prohibition, which he called an unethical violation of international agreements and human rights.

"Let's work together for the common good of our peoples and of Latin American and Caribbean unity, that is our goal," said Arreaza, insisting the state would continue to fight the "unprecedented international pressure" which he says is spearheaded by Washington.

Canadian authorities, meanwhile, maintain that Venezuelan offices within the country are "obliged to comply and refrain from installing polling stations."

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