Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Congress defies push to take over its powers

Published:Sunday | August 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Brian Naranjo (left), US Deputy Chief of Mission, speaks with his Japanese counterpart Toshiyuki Susuki prior to a meeting with the board members of Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, yesterday.

CARACAS, (AP)

Venezuela's congress met yesterday in defiance of what opposition leaders consider an autocratic push by allies of President Nicolas Maduro to usurp the legislature's powers.

The deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Caracas was among a group of foreign diplomats who attended yesterday's special session to express solidarity with the increasingly cornered lawmakers.

Venezuela's ongoing political standoff took another dramatic turn last Friday after the pro-government constitutional assembly approved a decree taking over congress' powers to pass legislation of vital importance to the crisis-wracked nation.

The US government called the move an illegitimate "power grab." Lawmakers from nine mostly Latin American nations meeting in Peru said it consolidates Venezuela's tilt towards "dictatorship."

Lawmakers dismissed the edict and said they won't stop meeting unless they are dissolved by force.