Santos will not recognize Maduro's National Constituent Assembly or its decisions

Venezuelan leader defiant as US imposes sanctions on him
Santos will not recognize Maduro's National Constituent Assembly or its decisions
Author

06 August, 2017

Venezuela's controversial "Constituent Assembly", a new legislative body with supreme powers packed with supporters of President Nicolas Maduro, began its first session in Caracas on Friday.

The 545-member assembly unanimously elected well-known allies of President Nicolas Maduro to its leadership in a show of unity, singling that the socialists have put aside differences to focus on consolidating the all-powerful body. "What we have is a crisis of the right-wing fascists", said Rodriguez, in a fiery inaugural address in which she paid homage to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro's mentor and predecessor.

"The constituent assembly is love, peace and loyalty", said Raquel Rodriguez, a 57-year-old government worker who joined the march. "Tomorrow we start to act".

Ortega remains the most prominent senior administration official in Venezuela who is also a vocal government critic.

"The United States will not recognise the National Constituent Assembly", spokeswoman Heath Nauert said. It says the constituent assembly is a way for the president to cling to power.

There has been speculation it's possible that Fitzpatrick's comments were a veiled message for opposition spokespeople such as Freddy Guevara, a legislator for Lopez's Popular Will party in the National Assembly. But the government and the opposition parties never agreed on the number of protest deaths.

At the same time, the Holy See asked all political actors, and governments in particular, to ensure that "full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms" are respected, "as well as the existing Constitution".

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"We reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners", the statement added.

In another development, Venezuelan authorities, who had detained opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo Lopez earlier in the week, allowed Ledezma to return home, where he was placed under house arrest, Ledezma's wife said via Twitter on Friday.

"It will be a biased and biased instrument that will not solve, but will aggravate the acute problems of high cost of living, the shortage of food and medicines that suffer the people, and deepen and worsen the deep political crisis we now face".

Members of the Constituent Assembly attend its installation at the National Congress in Caracas on August 4, 2017.

In her first speech as leader of the assembly, Rodriguez said delegates would "establish justice", underlying that the Constituent Assembly would not hand the country's fate to a "violent minority" or to the worldwide community.

Just hours ahead of the assembly's inaugural session, Venezuela's intelligence service unexpectedly transferred a high-profile opposition figure, Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, from jail back to house arrest, his family said. The company that provides the country's voting machines said the government's claim that 8.1 million votes were cast in the poll overestimated the tally by least 1 million.

Maduro has responded by lashing out at USA "imperialism" and calling the heads of other Latin American states vassals to Washington.


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