Venezuela court shuts down congress and grants itself legislative powers

miami heraldVenezuela’s opposition-controlled congress is being effectively shut down after the country’s Supreme Court said it would assume all legislative responsibilities amid its contention that legislators are operating outside of the law.

The decision is likely to increase tensions in the South American nation at a time when the international community has been pressing the socialist administration to hold elections and give the opposition a voice.

In a ruling published late Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that while the National Assembly continued to defy court rulings all of its actions were “invalid” and that “the activities of the parliament would be exercised directly by [this court].”

The clash of the branches goes back to January 2016, when the National Assembly swore in three opposition representatives from Amazon state even as the court had decided to investigate their election amid suspicions of voter fraud. That investigation is ongoing and the opposition has said the court is simply trying to rob them of their super majority. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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