Monday, 21 August, 2017

Venezuela currency down 18 percent as installation of constituent assembly looms

Rubio Praises WH for Handling Venezuela Crisis 'Just Right' Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro endorses Maduro's Constituent Assembly
Derrick Tucker | 06 August, 2017, 01:27

"If that is so, then I feel proud of the proposed sanction", said Maduro.

The United States will not recognize the National Constituent Assembly, State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Thursday, adding that the election lacked credible global observation. "They will never have the seat that the people of Venezuela gave us".

Opposition leaders have called for a march to the center of Caracas on Friday to protest creation of the assembly, which will be empowered to write a new constitution and may dissolve state institutions, including the opposition-led congress.

"The United States considers the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly the illegitimate product of a flawed process designed by the Maduro dictatorship to further its assault on democracy", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, citing problems from the way the election was decreed to the design of the balloting.

Although the Vatican has recently spoken very strongly about the Venezuelan crisis, with Pope Francis's top diplomat telling Crux back in May that elections are the only way out of the crisis, this is the first time the Holy See has openly challenged the constitutional assembly.

On the eve of the assembly's installation, the Spanish Embassy in Caracas was attacked with gasoline bombs.

Venezuela's opposition, which boycotted the vote, has dismissed the official tally as fraudulent. Prosecutors said two individuals on a motorcycle launched the devices, which started a fire but caused no reported injuries. As one of its first tasks, Maduro has ordered the assembly to declare Ortega Diaz's office in a state of emergency and entirely restructure it.

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It was also widely dismissed as illegitimate by the worldwide community, who saw it as a way for Maduro to bypass the legitimate Parliament - the National Assembly - which is now controlled by the right-wing opposition.

Venezuela's controversial, newly elected legislative assembly had a fiery message as the body took office Friday: Supporters of leftist President Nicolás Maduro are in control, with a vengeance.

Ortega Diaz filed a complaint Thursday seeking a court order to block installation of the new assembly.

She also ordered prosecutors to investigate the allegations of election tampering raised by Antonio Mugica, the head of the voting technology firm Smartmatic.

Since all candidates for the assembly were Maduro allies, turnout was the key gauge of public support.

Associated Press writer Fabiola Sanchez reported this story in Caracas and AP writer Christine Armario reported from Bogota, Colombia.

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