Venezuela's new assembly declares itself all-powerful

Posted August 10, 2017

In late July, following Venezuelan election to the National Constituent Assembly, the United States introduced sanctions against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro for "undermining democracy", freezing all his assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

It also demanded the "implementation of the precautionary measures issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights".

Filled with Maduro supporters, it is expected to eventually take the place of the opposition-led National Assembly in a move that critics fear will erode democracy, and is expected to rewrite the Constitution at Maduro's behest.

Foreign ministers from 17 Western Hemisphere nations, however, refused to recognise the new "all-powerful body", AP reported.

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".

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Also Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the mayor of the district of Chacao, in Caracas, Ramon Muchacho, for not following an order to remove barricades during recent protests.

Washington said the new Constituent Assembly, which was sworn in on August 4, was created "through an undemocratic process instigated by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government to subvert the will of the Venezuelan people".

- Security forces allegedly are responsible at least 46 deaths.

His next action could be to deprive of parliamentary immunity of certain opposition mps to send them to jail.

Opposition delegates were not allowed to enter the building while the pro-government assembly convened to pass decrees in support of Maduro.

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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".

At least 40 worldwide leaders have called on Maduro not to launch the new Assembly, threating not to recognize it.

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

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

With Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro facing criticism from around Latin America and the world amid a deepening political crisis, Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona said he was willing to fight for the embattled leftist regime.

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Venezuelan security forces have wielded excessive force to suppress protests, killing dozens, and have arbitrarily detained 5,000 people since April, including 1,000 still in custody.