- Title: Venezuela's new legislative superbody opens despite wide criticism
- Date: 4th August 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AUGUST 4, 2017) (REUTERS) NEWLY-SWORN IN MEMBERS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY IN PARLIAMENT MEMBERS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY CHANTING CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MEMBERS HOLDING PAINTING OF FORMER PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MEMBER DIOSDADO CABELLO WITH PHOTOGRAPH OF CHAVEZ VARIOUS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MEMBERS CHANTING MEMBERS OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY SITTING VARIOUS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MEMBERS APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DELCY RODRIGUEZ, CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The Venezuelan people also said the violent conflict will not be imposed on Venezuela to ease the way for foreign intervention. We send many messages, not just to Venezuela but to the world. To the head of the empire (referring to U.S. President Donald Trump) we say, and we will repeat as many times as necessary, 'Don't mess with Venezuela. From here, from this powerful chamber surrounded by our liberators, we say, 'Savage and barbarous empire." VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DELCY RODRIGUEZ, CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT, SAYING: "(Addressing opposition) End the violence now! The Venezuelan people do not want war. The Venezuelan people want peace. The message of Venezuela has been very clear. The message, comrades, has been very strong: to the right we say that if they don't take up the mantle of democracy and political action, we will impose justice. This constituent assembly is also here to do justice, comrades." DIOSDADO CABELLO, MEMBER OF THE NEW CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, LAUGHING VARIOUS OF INDIGENOUS MEMBERS OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY WEARING TRADITIONAL CLOTHING MEMBERS OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY LISTENING RODRIGUEZ GIVING SPEECH AFTER INAUGURATION CEREMONY GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS AT RALLY OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT SOLDIERS PUTTING UP PHOTOGRAPHS OF FORMER PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHAVEZ GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS WAVING VENEZUELAN FLAGS AT RALLY WITH PHOTOGRAPHS OF CHAVEZ IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS CHANTING
- Embargoed: 18th August 2017 21:08
- Keywords: constituent assembly inauguration Delcy Rodriguez speech Trump warning to opposition
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016SQT6IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuela on Friday (August 4) inaugurated a new legislative superbody that is expected to rewrite the constitution and give vast new powers to the ruling Socialist Party, defying worldwide condemnation that the new assembly undermines democratic freedoms.
The 545-member assembly unanimously elected former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, a close ally to President Nicolas Maduro, to the presidency but the leadership notably excludes Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello, a long-time rival for power to Maduro, who himself put Rodriguez's name forward.
The assembly will function in the same downtown Caracas palace complex as the existing opposition-run congress, which could potentially be dissolved by the new all-powerful body. The two bodies are expected to hold sessions in parallel, separated by an ornate cobblestone courtyard.
The largely ceremonial installation of the constituent assembly offered few hints as what its first moves would be. Leaders including Maduro and Cabello have in recent days suggested it would quickly move against Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who broke with the government this year and described the assembly election as a fraud.
Governments ranging from Latin American neighbours to the United States and European Union have condemned the assembly, with the Vatican making a last minute plea for authorities to suspend it.
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