New Venezuelan Assembly usurps Congress

Posted August 10, 2017

Meanwhile, the United Nations has condemned the use of extensive force and detention of anti-government protestors.

Venezuela's newly installed constituent Assembly has given itself authority that makes it superior to all other governmental institutions, including the Opposition-controlled Congress, AP reported on Wednesday.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told representatives from nations including Cuba and Bolivia that long-standing USA aggressions against the South American nation have "entered a much stronger phase".

Government officials have said the assembly should strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution - a move meant to hold them accountable for allegedly stirring violence in four months of anti-government protests that have left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured or detained.

The supreme Court has already been sentenced to fifteen months in prison, Ramon Muchacho, mayor of the district of Chacao, an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that Guterres "is concerned that recent developments could lead to further escalation of tensions and distance the country from a path conducive to a peaceful solution to its challenges".

The declaration was presented by Peruvian Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna, who told reporters "what occurred in Venezuela" - the installation of the constitutional assembly - "is a decisive rupture" in the country's political situation and "what we have now is that Venezuela is a dictatorship".

The situation became more acute with the installation of the Constituent Assembly last Friday, given that the body was not recognized by the Venezuelan opposition or by many governments and worldwide organizations.

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Major Latin American nations have rejected the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, and South American nations have indefinitely suspended Venezuela from the Mercosur trading bloc for breaking "democratic order".

Opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano says the goal of the truth commission is to "persecute those who think differently".

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the group of nations will only recognize decisions approved by Venezuela's National Assembly, including those related to loans, refinancing and public works.

It called on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to rein in security forces and investigate alleged abuses, release people arbitrarily detained, and ensure the protection of the ousted Attorney-General Luisa Ortega.

Foreign ministers from 14 nations are meeting in Peru on Tuesday in hopes of finding consensus on a regional response to Venezuela's growing political crisis.

Peru has been one of the most outspoken critics of Maduro under centrist Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki, a former Wall Street banker whom Maduro has described as a lackey of the US.

The European Union is criticizing the removal of Venezuela's public prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with almost unlimited authority to govern.

Both the Constituent Assembly and the National Assembly met Tuesday in separate chambers of the legislative palace in the capital, Caracas.

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