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New Venezuelan Assembly Promises Quick Action

  • VOA News

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro prepare for a march to the National Assembly for the swearing in ceremony of the Constituent Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2017.

Venezuela’s new legislative superbody is set to convene again Saturday.

The controversial Constituent Assembly, inaugurated Friday, is expected to rewrite the constitution and give new powers to the ruling Socialist party.

President Nicolas Maduro’s wife and son are among the members of the 545-member assembly that unanimously selected former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez as its president.

Rodriguez promised quick action against the government’s opponents.

The President of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly Delcy Rodriguez, front and center, leads the newly sworn-in Constituent Assembly as they pose for an official photo in front of Venezuela's National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2017.
The President of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly Delcy Rodriguez, front and center, leads the newly sworn-in Constituent Assembly as they pose for an official photo in front of Venezuela's National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2017.

“Don’t think we’re going to wait weeks, months or years,” Rodriguez said Friday. “Tomorrow we start to act. The violent fascists, those who wage economic war on the people, those who wage psychological war, justice is coming for you.”

She also condemned foreign criticism of Venezuela.

“The international community should not make a mistake over Venezuela. The message is clear, very clear — we Venezuelans will resolve our conflict, our crisis without any form of foreign interference,” she said.

In addition to rewriting the constitution put in place under then-President Hugo Chavez, the new assembly will have power over other branches of government and the authority to remove public officials.

Media reports say Venezuelan chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who this week said she had opened an investigation into alleged voter fraud in Sunday’s election, may be targeted by the assembly.

Ortega filed the request for an investigation in a lower court, after earlier filing complaints about the constitutionality of the new assembly with the nation’s Supreme Court.

The Vatican has called for a suspension of the Constituent Assembly, saying Friday that it contributed to a climate of tension and conflict. The Vatican also called for the Catholic-majority nation to “avoid any form of violence” as the crisis deepens.

The United States, European Union and several Latin American countries have said they will not recognize the assembly.

Masked anti-government demonstrators protest against the installation of a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2017.
Masked anti-government demonstrators protest against the installation of a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 4, 2017.

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.

Lopez remains in prison.

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