Thursday, March 30, 2017

Venezuela Supreme Court assumes powers of opposition-controlled Congress; move called a step toward dictatorship

CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuelans awoke Thursday to learn that the supreme court has assumed all powers of the opposition-controlled congress, which lawyers and rights activists say is the latest step toward dictatorship in Latin America’s largest oil producer.

“This ruling marks the point of no return for the dictatorship,” the National Assembly’s Vice President Freddy Guevara said in a statement.

The supreme court, which is staffed with allies of President Nicolás Maduro, said in a ruling issued late Wednesday that the congress is in contempt of court for swearing in three lawmakers from the remote Amazonas state who have been accused of electoral fraud. The court said it takes over all “parliamentary capacities” until the conflict is resolved ....