The Latest: Venezuela opposition urges nationwide protest
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on Venezuela’s political confrontation (all times local):
Venezuela’s opposition is calling for a nationwide protest Tuesday against the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Lawmakers are urging Venezuelans to abandon their homes and workplaces at midday to take to the streets to block traffic and bring the nation to a standstill.
The opposition has been struggling to regain its footing since last week’s seating of a loyalist special assembly to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution. Turnout at an anti-government march Friday was one of the smallest in four months of deadly unrest.
But opposition lawmaker Juan Requenses predicts it won’t take long to remobilize foes of the socialist administration.
In Requenses words: “Maduro knows this country is ungovernable. The only thing he wants today is for us to abandon the street.”
Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature is refusing to recognize any of the decrees issued by a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly convened by embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
In a vote Monday, the legislature opted unanimously in favor of disavowing the super-body’s decisions to replace the nation’s outspoken chief prosecutor with a government loyalist and create a “truth commission” that will wield unusual power to prosecute and levy punishments.
Maduro says the new commission should hold opposition leaders accountable for the current wave of political unrest.
Opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano says the purpose of the truth commission is to “persecute those who think differently.”
The pro-government constitutional assembly is ruling with virtually unlimited authority and is expected to meet again Tuesday.
Venezuelan authorities are continuing to search for 10 men who participated in an attack on a military base and escaped with a cache of weapons.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Monday that special units are being activated to assist in the search.
Authorities say a total of 20 men attacked the Paracamay barracks in central Venezuela early Sunday in hopes of sparking an uprising. According to the government, two of the intruders were killed and eight were captured, but the others got away.
Former National Guard Capt. Juan Carlos Caguaripano is among those the military is searching for. He appeared in a video released on the day of the attack encouraging other military units to join his rebellion.
Authorities have been searching for Caguaripano since 2014 after he was accused of plotting to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro
A high-profile Venezuelan opposition leader says a violent attack on an army barracks that left two dead is worrying.
Freddy Guevara told lawmakers at the opposition-controlled National Assembly Monday that the attack is “a path that worries us all.”
He says people can be tempted to violence when they feel their electoral and constitutional options are closed — a situation the opposition says is developing in Venezuela.
The opposition has repeatedly called for non-violent electoral change in the country.
Soldiers battled Sunday against a group of 20 men who made their way to a military base’s weapons cache. Ten escaped, seven were captured, two died and one was injured.
President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to use a new and all-powerful constitutional assembly to arrest Guevara.
The European Union is criticizing the removal of Venezuela’s public prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with nearly unlimited authority to govern.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s office said Monday that the assembly’s actions and removal of Luisa Ortega Diaz “have further weakened the prospects for a peaceful return to the democratic order.”
A statement said that these actions have “increased the polarization of an already divided society.”
The EU is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to free all political prisoners and ensure the respect of human rights and the rule of law.
Ortega Diaz is a longtime government loyalist turned critic of Maduro. She has refused to recognize the assembly’s vote Saturday to remove her from office.