Vatican calls for suspension of Venezuela's Constituent Assembly

Janie Parker
August 6, 2017

"For those who preach violence, to the fascists, to those who wage an economic war against people. justice will come to them", Rodriguez told the new assembly inside the legislative palace in Caracas.

Opposition leaders have denounced the erosion of democracy and vowed they will only be removed by force. "Tomorrow we start to act".

On Thursday, Maduro said anyone caught using DolarToday to calculate higher consumer prices would be punished.

On Sunday, Maduro said one of the priorities of the Constituent Assembly would be the "restructuring" of the office of the attorney general. "I have nothing to fear", Maduro said, adding that the sanctions serve to highlight the impotence, desperation and hatred felt in Washington.

The Vatican statement expresses "profound concern for the radicalisation and worsening of the crisis", including the increase in deaths, injuries and arrests of protesters. President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, agreed that Maduro must restore the rights of the Venezuelan people in a phone call Friday to discuss several ongoing global crises, according to a readout of the conversation by the White House.

The United States will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly, the U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, adding that the election lacked credible worldwide observation.

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Venezuela's president and election chief Wednesday denied a report that voter turnout numbers were manipulated and inflated by at least 1 million for the controversial election to choose an assembly to rewrite the national constitution.

The constitutional assembly is made up of an array of pro-government trade unionists, students and even representatives of Venezuelans with physical disabilities.

In a continuing show of defiance, Ortega Diaz filed papers Thursday seeking a court order to block installation of the new assembly. The request, filed to a lower court in an apparent attempt to circumvent the government-stacked Supreme Court, was dismissed Friday on procedural grounds.

Smartmatic has provided the technological platform for voting and services for Venezuelan elections since 2004. The company that provides the country's voting machines said the government's claim that 8.1 million votes were cast in the poll overestimated the tally by least 1 million.

Pledges by opposition lawmakers to remain in power no matter what action the constituent assembly takes have opened the possibility of two governing bodies operating side by side - neither recognizing the other.

In the aftermath of the vote, the United States imposed direct sanctions on Maduro, calling him a "dictator", while the European Union joined the US, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina in saying it would not recognize the new assembly.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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