The White House on Monday threw its weight behind an unsanctioned opposition-organized vote in Venezuela, saying the plebiscite provided an “unmistakable statement” in condemnation of the embattled ruling regime.

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“We congratulate the Venezuelan people for the huge turnout in the referendum yesterday,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

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He added: “We condemn the violence inflicted by government thugs against innocent voters.”

The opposition-organized ballot saw more than seven million of Venezuela’s 19 million voters cast their vote, overwhelmingly against President Nicolas Maduro and his plans to rewrite the country’s constitution.

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