UPDATE 1-Maduro says Venezuela vote going ahead despite "imperial" threat

(Adds Maduro quotes, background, opposition)

CARACAS, July 23 (Reuters) - Defying pressure from abroad and at home, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that an election would go ahead next weekend for a controversial new congress his foes say will institutionalize dictatorship.

"The imperial right wing believes it can give orders to Venezuela, the only ones who give orders here are the people," Maduro said in reference to a threat from U.S. President Donald Trump to impose economic sanctions if the vote is not aborted.

"This time next week Venezuelans will vote for a Constituent Assembly," he added in his weekly TV program.

Venezuela's opposition has been protesting in the streets since April against the unpopular Maduro whom they accuse of wrecking the OPEC nation's economy and crushing democracy.

Opponents are boycotting the Constituent Assembly vote, which they see as a farce designed to ensure a majority for a government with minority popular support, and demanding instead conventional free elections including for a new president.

The European Union and major Latin American nations have also stated their opposition to the constituent body.

"We need the support of other democracies to avoid turning into another Cuba," said Julio Borges, who leads the opposition-led National Assembly legislature that officials say will be replaced by Maduro's new constituent body.

Opposition leaders are planning a week of protests, including a two-day national strike on Wednesday and Thursday, to try to force Maduro's hand. He says they are "terrorists" working for Washington to try to control Venezuela's oil.

More than 100 people have died in four months of anti-government unrest. Hundreds have also been injured and arrested.

Venezuela's political showdown is playing out against the backdrop of a crippling economic crisis, with many going hungry and suffering shortages during a fourth year of deep recession. (Reporting and writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)