Donald Trump Threatens Venezuela

US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened "strong and swift economic actions" against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Venezuela if it proceeds with plans for a July 30 election to choose an assembly to retool the constitution. The American leader's warning came shortly after nearly 7.2 million Venezuelans rejected Maduro's proposed changes in a non-binding referendum.

"The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles," Trump said in a statement, adding that in that the voters' "strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator."

Venezuelan opposition leaders on Monday said they would launch a plan called "zero hour" on Wednesday that will include an agreement to form an alternate government and creating 2,000 local committees to function as street-level support for the opposition.

The opposition also said it would name 13 judges to the supreme court to replace those installed by the outgoing, ruling party-dominated congress in 2015 in a process widely regarded to have violated nomination procedures.

"We call on the whole country to launch a 24-hour national strike this Thursday, a massive, non-violent protest, as a way to pressure the government and to prepare for the final steps, which will be next week, to confront this fraud ... and to restore constitutional order," opposition leader Freddy Guevara said. He didn't say what the final steps would be. Guevara also announced the plan on Twitter.

The opposition coalition United Democracy Roundtable (MUD) won control of the legislature in December 2015 and began calling for a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro and hold new elections.

Maduro has said the opposition's move doesn't count and he'll go ahead with the scheduled July 30 vote on creating a new "constitutent assembly" which will have the right to annul the current opposition-led parliament and change the constitution.