News / Americas

    Venezuela Supreme Court Declares Congress Decisions Void

    FILE - Deputies of Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD) pose for a picture in front of a giant picture of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez after a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Jan. 5, 2016.
    FILE - Deputies of Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties (MUD) pose for a picture in front of a giant picture of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez after a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Jan. 5, 2016.
    Reuters

    Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the new National Assembly's decisions are void unless three banned opposition lawmakers are removed from office, deepening a power struggle over the opposition's new legislative majority.

    Already beset by a deep economic crisis, Venezuela now seems to be sliding into a protracted period of political turmoil as both a newly-emboldened opposition and President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government play hardball with each other.

    The Supreme Court in December blocked four lawmakers - three opposition and one allied with the government - from taking office after the Socialist Party made allegations of irregularities during last month's legislative election.

    The opposition dubbed the ruling a bid to strip it of its super majority, and defiantly swore in the three barred opposition lawmakers anyway, one of a number of tussles between the newly convened congress and the court.

    "Decisions taken or to be taken by the National Assembly while these citizens are incorporated will be absolutely null," the court, which almost always rules in favor of the ruling Socialists, said in a statement on Monday.

    The Socialists said congress was now effectively powerless unless the lawmakers, who hail from the southern jungle state of Amazonas, were removed.

    "The logical, sane and democratic step is for the National Assembly's leadership to revoke the swearing-in of these lawmakers," said Socialist Party No. 2 and former National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

    "If the National Assembly is in contempt, nobody is going to recognize it," he said. The Supreme Court's constitutional chamber had stepped in during similar situations in the past, he said.

    The opposition said the measure was an authoritarian grab.

    "The big loser is going to be Maduro because he's going to create a constitutional crisis. He wants to immobilize the National Assembly, like Fujimori," said Ramon Escovar, a lawyer advising the opposition bloc, referring to Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's dissolution of congress in 1992.

    The opposition plan to introduce an amnesty law on Tuesday for jailed politicians and activists, while government lawmakers intend to push for a declaration of "national emergency" over the economic crisis.

    The opposition also wants to sack Supreme Court justices sworn in by the then Socialist-led congress last month, which the opposition said would then allow for the ban on the three lawmakers to be lifted.

    Many Venezuelans are fed up with the political bickering and want leaders on both sides to focus instead on fixing the recession, world's highest inflation and shortages of basic products.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Hundreds of Thousands of Brazilians Hold Gay Rights Parade

    Gay rights advocates in Brazil are pushing the congress to pass a law allowing Brazilians to legally identify themselves as the gender of their choice

    Haiti Braces for Trouble as Election Panel Report Is Due

    Haitians are preparing for trouble as electoral verification commission is due to deliver results of its monthlong review of last year's contested presidential and legislative elections

    Brazil Launches Manhunt for Alleged Gang Rapists

    Police identifies four of 30 suspects who gang raped teenager and posted video online

    'El Chapo' Lawyers Split on Extradition Case

    Lawyers can't agree on staving off extradition to US

    Colombia Rebels Release Three Journalists

    All three, including a Spanish correspondent working on a story about coca growers, were released Friday

    WHO Dismisses Changing Summer Olympics for Zika

    WHO says canceling or postponing the Olympics will not alter the international spread of Zika virus