Vatican urges Venezuela to put new assembly on hold

Posted August 06, 2017

Ortega said she had not been informed officially of any suspension but said she had heard about the possibility of it through "extraofficial channels".

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during a meeting with members of the Constituent Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela August 2, 2017. "The violent fascists. justice is coming for you".

It was not immediately clear who will replace her, or whether she will now be tried.

The assembly, elected in a controversial ballot on July 30 that the opposition boycotted, voted on Saturday to permanently remove Ortega Diaz, 59, from her post after the Supreme Court ruled on Friday evening to suspend her and send her to trial.

The voting was to elect the 545-seat assembly which is deputied to revise the country's constitution.

Maduro's former foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez, who now heads the Constituent Assembly, had vowed to go after those seen to be behind months of anti-government protests.

Venezuela's pro-government constitutional assembly has gathered for the first time, kicking off the session by singing the country's national anthem.

Assembly delegates marched to the neo-classical legislative palace accompanied by hundreds of red-shirted government supporters.

Diosdado Cabello, second in command of the ruling socialist party, told reporters that the ouster "was not an act of lynching".

The Vatican, joined in early Friday asking that its installation to be suspended, while Mercosur's foreign ministers will meet in Brazil tomorrow to discuss whether to apply measures of punishment on Venezuela.

"The United States will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly", spokeswoman Heath Nauert said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called the president of Mexico a "coward" - and has gotten a swift response in the same terms from Mexico's top diplomat. Two days ago the USA placed him in the Department of the Treasurys Office of Foreign Assets Control as a Specially Designated National, joining another 30-something current and former members of his administration, including his Vice President and the head justice of the Supreme Court.

"We are saying: Stop with this!"

Maduro said that showed Trump "gave him a public order" and called it "shameful".

A controversial new Venezuelan assembly packed with allies of unpopular president Nicolas Maduro held its first session, deepening a rift with the opposition and in the teeth of worldwide criticism from the USA, the European Union and major Latin American nations calling it illegitimate.

McMaster cites the historical resentment in Latin America over the long history of US military interventions in the region.

The Vatican called for a "negotiated solution" that would provide humanitarian aid, fair elections and the release of political prisoners, and it appealed for an end to the violence that has plagued the country. It added that the Pope was following the situation closely.

A prominent Venezuelan opposition leader has been returned to his home after spending several days jailed.

In a pre-dawn tweet, Ledezma's wife said that her husband had just been brought to his residence, according to Reuters.