Venezuela restores opposition leader Ledezma's house arrest

06 August, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Venezuelan leader defiant as US imposes sanctions on him

The strongly worded statement from the Vatican's Secretariat of State, says Pope Francis is following closely the situation in Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro is headed towards a showdown with the opposition, as he pushes ahead with the inauguration of his new Assembly.

President Nicolas Maduro's wife and son are among the members of the 545-member assembly that unanimously selected former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez as its president.

Ortega was, and still is, a Chavista - or a backer of Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, who anointed Maduro as his successor before his death in 2013.

"We are in the face of a grave and unprecedented action that could constitute a crime", Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega said in a statement by the prosecutor's office, which quoted her interview with CNN.

Maduro himself said on Friday that "if we had an attorney general here that acted. all these violent protesters would already be in jail".

Speaking to the National Guard that have been on the front lines of four months of deadly protests, Maduro promised that more than 580 members of the force who he said had been attacked since the protest movement began would receive reparations as part of the work of the Constitutional assembly that convened for the first time Friday.

The foreign ministers of South America's largest nations meet in Lima, Peru, next week to wrestle with the issue of how to halt this nightmare on their doorstep.

The Vatican had urged the Venezuela government to "avoid or suspend" the new assembly.

Mr. Saab has been criticized by members of the opposition for defending the government's tough sentences for political prisoners.

The European Union is refusing to recognize Venezuela's new assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution, saying it could undermine the country's institutions.

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The assembly was installed despite opposition street protests.

The body, which made the decisions its first order of business since its widely condemned election a week ago, also said it planned to operate as Venezuela's supreme power for up to two years.

With Venezuela's economy in tatters and its society torn apart, Maduro has promised the so-called constituyente would bring about "justice and peace", but the socialist autocrat has been vague about his exact agenda.

It also called on Venezuela to respect human rights and the country's current constitution.

Venezuelan intelligence agents have returned opposition leader Antonio Ledezma to his home, where he is serving house arrest, after taking him to prison early on Tuesday, Ledezma's family said on Friday.

The body's legitimacy was struck a hard blow when a British-based firm that supplied the voting technology, Smartmatic, said this week the turnout figure was "tampered with" and greatly exaggerated.

The opposition boycotted Sunday's election of the Constituent Assembly, arguing that the rules were rigged to benefit the government, and almost all the candidates were supporters of Maduro's administration.

On Monday, the Trump administration sanctioned Maduro and froze any assets he might have under USA jurisdiction.

Among complaints against Maduro is his refusal to allow worldwide aid to enter the country, which is in a deep recession and is suffering food and medicine shortages.

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