Venezuela lawmakers reject new assembly's orders

Posted August 10, 2017

The country's defense minister and head of the armed forces, General Vladimir Padrino, insisted the attackers were "terrorists" acting with USA backing and in no way represented a split within the military.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told representatives from nations including Cuba and Bolivia that long-standing US aggressions against the South American nation have "entered a much stronger phase".

Ambassadors or their representatives from these countries stated in a 16-point Declaration their "strong rejection of violence and any method that involves the use of force" as well as the "systematic violation of basic human rights and freedoms", which includes "the existence of political prisoners and the lack of free elections subject to worldwide monitoring".

"I call on all parties to work towards a solution to the rapidly worsening tensions in the country, to renounce the use of violence and to take steps towards meaningful political dialogue", Zeid said.

Government officials have said the assembly should strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution - a move meant to hold them accountable for allegedly stirring violence in four months of anti-government protests that have left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured or detained.

He says people can be tempted to violence when they feel their electoral and constitutional options are closed - a situation the opposition says is developing in Venezuela.

The foreign ministers of 17 Western Hemisphere nations met in Peru to discuss how to force Maduro to back down. On Monday, the president of neighbouring Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has brandished the threat of a rupture of diplomatic missions.

Inflation in Venezuela's crisis-hit economy quickened to 248.6 percent in the first seven months of the year, the opposition-led congress said on Wednesday in the absence of official data.

Peru has been one of the most outspoken critics of Maduro under centrist Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki, a former Wall Street banker whom Maduro has described as a lackey of the US.

The new assembly was created in a July 30 national vote orchestrated by Maduro and boycotted by the opposition.

Seventeen American countries have condemned the "democratic rupture of Venezuela's democratic order" and said that they will not recognize measures that the recently-elected Constitutional Assembly adopts in this country, because of "its illegitimate nature", dpa has reported.

Its 545 members, all chavistes, voted Tuesday in support of the army, in the central part of the political spectrum of venezuela and the main pillar of power.

- Security forces allegedly are responsible at least 46 deaths.

"We're asking of the Justice and Truth Commission that anyone who has acted against the fatherland be stripped of public duties", he said, using the formal name of the commission.

"You can expect new incidents to occur as this unease grows", he said. He appeared in a video released on the day of the attack encouraging other military units to join his rebellion.