In Venezuela, a new Assembly takes power

Venezuela’s new legislative superbody was criticised by South American governments and Washington on Friday after giving itself the power to pass laws, superseding the Opposition-led Congress while ex-top prosecutor Luisa Ortega fled the country.

President Nicolas Maduro sponsored last month's election of the 545-member constituent assembly over objections from the opposition, which boycotted the vote, calling it an affront to democracy. In its first session on August 5 the Assembly fired Ms. Ortega, who had accused Mr. Maduro of human rights violations. The oil-rich but economically ailing country has seen months of political unrest in which more than 125 people have died. Ortega arrived in neighbouring Colombia on Friday, migration authorities in Bogota said. She told Reuters in an August 10 interview that she feared for her life in Venezuela, although she still considered herself the country's chief prosecutor.

U.S. State Department meanwhile criticised the new super-assembly. “As long as the Maduro regime continues to conduct itself as an authoritarian dictatorship, we are prepared to bring the full weight of American economic and diplomatic power to bear in support of the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore their democracy,” it said. In practice, the assembly’s assumption of power changed little in Venezuela, where the Supreme Court has shot down nearly every law that congress has approved since it was taken over by the Opposition in 2016.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:14:26 AM |

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