- Title: Venezuelan opposition warns of witch hunt by constituent body
- Date: 7th August 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AUGUST 07, 2017) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF LAWMAKERS BEFORE START OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT, JULIO BORGES, WALKING DOWN STAIRS IN ASSEMBLY AND GREETING BRAZILIAN AMBASSADOR TO VENEZUELA, RUY PEREIRA LAWMAKERS SEATED AT DESKS BORGES SHAKING HANDS WITH PEREIRA AND LAWMAKER LAWMAKERS MOVING ABOUT BEFORE START OF SESSION OPPOSITION LEADER, HENRY RAMOS ALLUP, AT MICROPHONE TO ADDRESS LAWMAKERS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OPPOSITION LEADER, HENRY RAMOS ALLUP, SAYING: "You are going to see that they (members of constituent assembly) will start to cite lawmakers, they will accuse them (lawmakers) and ask for them to say sorry for and confess to imaginary crimes so as to be exonerated, otherwise it will involve denying the charges and with fictitious evidence they take away (parliamentary) immunity and you are eventually put in prison. That's what coming with these truth commissions." PRESIDENT AND OFFICIALS AT FRONT OF ASSEMBLY BORGES CHECKING HIS PHONE DURING SESSION OPPOSITION LAWMAKER DELSA SOLORZANO AT MICROPHONE TO ADDRESS LAWMAKERS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OPPOSITION LAWMAKER, DELSA SOLORZANO, SAYING: "In compliance with articles 333 and 350 we are obligated to defend the constitution, and also to confirm that the only prosecutor in Venezuela is Luisa Ortega Diaz because she was elected by the National Assembly, as a body. Not by those of us who are here, she was elected in the previous term. And her duties were set by lawmakers who at that time were supporters of the government." PEREIRA SEATED AT ASSEMBLY WITH OFFICIAL PEREIRA SEATED DURING SESSION GENERAL VIEW OF OFFICIALS AT FRONT OF SESSION GENERAL VIEW OF ASSEMBLY IN SESSION
- Embargoed: 21st August 2017 23:20
- Keywords: National Assembly opposition consituent assembly President Nicolas Maduro
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016T5RHVR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Opposition lawmakers in Venezuela warned on Monday (August 07) of a witch hunt by the pro-government constituent assembly to silence critics of President Nicolas Maduro, as political tensions heighten in the divided OPEC nation.
The newly-seated 545-member legislative superbody has the power to change the constitution and last week fired chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz, who has expressed criticism of Maduro. The opposition-majority National Assembly believes they are next in line to face trumped up charges from the government.
The Socialist government accuses the opposition of seeking a coup in the South American nation with the backing of foreign forces funded by Washington. The opposition has denied the charges and called for early elections to end a political stalemate in the country, citing the firing of Ortega Diaz as proof that the government is seeking to instil Socialist rule over Venezuela.
Venezuela's opposition has attracted international support for its gripes against the government including from regional heavyweights Mexico and Brazil. Brazilian Ambassador to Venezuela Ruy Pereira was at the heated National Assembly session on Monday as a show of support for the opposition movement.
An increasingly volatile Venezuela took another turn over the weekend, after Maduro reported an attack on a military base was suppressed, adding to fears that a state of emergency will be called in the fractured nation.
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