The central question before voters concerned Maduro's intention to hold an election on July 30 to choose 545 members of a citizens' body called the "Constituent Assembly" that would redo the constitution. "The situation in Venezuela will be part of the conversation with President Castro, seeing how we can come to a solution, that dialogue is re-established, that there are paths to a deal". More than 100 people have been killed in related violence since April.
"It is time for zero hour", opposition leader Freddy Guevara said on behalf of MUD as he announced the "massive protest" strike.
That raised the possibility of a parallel state structure to challenge government-controlled institutions.
The president of the National Assembly, the opponent Julio Borges, said after the announcement that today Venezuela said "yes" to a country without violence, a country of progress united and in freedom.
He said: "I'm calling on the opposition to return to peace, to respect for the constitution, to sit and talk".
Venezuela's leading business group Fedecamaras, which played a major role against Chavez in 2002, said it would be up to each company and its workers to decide whether to heed opposition actions.
A vast majority of Venezuelan voters, 98.4 per cent, rejected the President's proposal to form a National Constituent Assembly to amend the country's Constitution in an opposition-backed referendum.
"With 95 percent of the votes counted we have 7,187,170 voters who participated", she said, adding that 6.4 million of the votes were in the country while 693,789 Venezuelans cast their ballots overseas.
"This is really important because I think it's the first step in recovering our country because it's really bad right now", Claudia Cabrera, a local Venezuelan resident, said.
"The results seem to confirm that the opposition would easily defeat the government in any election".
In Asia-Pacific countries, many are concerned about North Korea's nuclear program
It has been reported that the U.S. has proposed a new draft UNSC resolution for further sanctions on North Korea to China. North Korea's biggest need is to pay for fuel, since the country doesn't come close to producing enough oil.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos planned to discuss the Venezuelan crisis during a visit with President Raul Castro of Cuba, Venezuela's closest regional ally, Colombia's foreign minister said from Havana.
Maduro insists opposition leaders are USA pawns intent on sabotaging the economy and bringing him down through violence as part of an global right-wing conspiracy led by Washington and fanned by private domestic and foreign media.
"The ruling Socialist Party can not win a free and fair election of any kind, and the Constituent Assembly is created to resolve their collective electability problem by tilting the electoral playing field in one direction", Eurasia consultancy said. The court is controlled by loyalists of Maduro's ruling socialist party.
In this context, "suspending the process to start the Constituent Assembly would be an important gesture", added Mogherini, insisting on the "clear signal" sent on Sunday by the opposition in the consultation against the process.
(AP Photo/Jesus Hernandez). Volunteers count the ballots after a poll station closed during a symbolic referendum in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 16, 2017. Maduro's allies accused the opposition of inflating numbers with multiple voting and false registrations.
"Ten-year-old kids voted, thousands of minors, Australians, US citizens. a very big fraud", Socialist Party official Jorge Rodriguez said, mocking Sunday's vote which also took place among Venezuela's large diaspora communities.
The opposition plans to burn ballot papers from the informal poll so those who voted against the government can not be identified and victimized.
On the same day as the unofficial referendum, Maduro's government held a "trial run" for the July 30 vote, which it described as a success.
"Yesterday was a super experiment in manipulating reality", Moncada said.
A 61-year-old woman has become the latest casualty of the political turmoil in Venezuela.