Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during the opening of the third United Nations Habitat Conference, in Quito, Ecuador, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The meeting kicked off in Quito on Monday with the goal of tackling haphazard growth and fostering livable, self-sustaining cities amid a boom in the global urban population. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

“This is a big deal and reveals that the government was fearful of what could happen in the three-day signature collection period. They have effectively postponed the recall referendum indefinitely. This measure makes it difficult to think of Venezuela as a democracy,” said David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at the Washington Office on Latin America.