Venezuelan constitutional assembly seizes power of opposition-led congress

Venezuelan military receives President's order to prepare for US invasion

The Venezuelan Constituent Assembly, an extremely powerful group called into existence by President Nicolas Maduro, just granted itself another power - one that was once the exclusive province of the country's elected congress: The 2-week-old assembly packed with Maduro supporters decreed Friday it has the power to pass laws.

Since the controversial vote was held, many worldwide observers - including the USA - have censured Maduro's government for what they called a "sham election".

Ramón Alberto Muchacho, the mayor of Chacao, found refuge in South Florida and blames Cuba, China and Russian Federation for supporting Maduro's armed repression against Venezuelans and his "illegitimate" assembly.

At last check, there was no response from the members of Congress or other opposition leaders.

In a statement Friday it said that the ANC's decree was "void" and its acts were "illegal and unconstitutional". When the government said more than 8 million people had voted for delegates to the Constituent all hell broke loose: the company that provided the technology, programming, software and ran the machines for the election said the results the government reported were false and 40-plus countries, including the USA and the European Union, said they were not going to recognize the new body. "This decision won't be accepted by the National Assembly, the worldwide community or the people".

In a new paper with Mitu Gulati, law professor at Duke University, he notes that any state debt issuance plans must be approved by Venezuela's national assembly, which is controlled by opponents of the Maduro government. It was the first time in the 16 years since Hugo Chavez became president that the opposition had control of the legislative branch.

In recent weeks, some of the country's top opposition leaders, including former mayors Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, were rearrested after they had been released from jail and allowed to serve their sentences at home.

Earlier yesterday, her successor, Tarek William Saab, said he had asked officials to go after Ortega's husband, German Ferrer, a former loyalist lawmaker who has split from the ruling Socialist Party.

She re-emerged Friday, via Internet from an undisclosed location, to address a meeting in Mexico of prosecutors from around Latin America.

The creation of the assembly is a move the US considers to be anti-democratic since the assembly plans to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution and dissolve its state institutions, according to the department. She said several prosecutors involved in the probe had fled Venezuela fearing for their leaves.

"I've been in close contact with all of them", he said. The United States has imposed direct sanctions on him. "In Venezuela, they are not only criticizing the opposition, but they are also criticizing the media and the journalists".

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