Venezuela’s National Assembly vowed Sunday to put socialist President Maduro on trial after his government indefinitely put off an attempt to gather signatures for a recall referendum. From the Associated Press:
A day of fiery speeches was briefly thrown into chaos in the afternoon when dozens of red-shirted protesters who had been heckling lawmakers outside the capitol since the morning burst onto the floor. Lawmakers ran out of the path of protesters who chanted: “Congress will fall!”…
Opposition spokesman Jesus Torrealba said the protest on the floor was a perfect illustration of the opposition’s complaint that democracy has been suspended in the oil country.
“The fact that lawmakers elected by 7.5 million people were silenced by 300 thugs sums up the situation better than any speech could,” he said.
Reuters has a bit more detail:
“It is a political and legal trial against President Nicolas Maduro to see what responsibility he has in the constitutional rupture that has broken democracy, human rights, and the future of the country,” said opposition majority leader Julio Borges during a special congressional meeting…
“The Socialist Party is showing what it has left. There are no ideas or arguments, only violence!” said opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.
The opposition coalition, seeking to end 17 years of socialism in the South American nation, says Thursday’s suspension of its drive for a plebiscite against Maduro shows Venezuela has abandoned democracy.
The opposition party took control of the National Assembly during elections in December 2015. However, every effort they have made to change the direction of the country has been blocked by the country’s supreme court which was stacked with socialist party loyalists by Maduro.
The current crisis involves an attempt by the opposition to put a recall referendum on the ballot. Until last week the next phase of that process was set to take place this week. But last Thursday the socialist government announced the effort was being postponed indefinitely because of alleged fraud in a previous step of the process. Polls suggest that, if the recall were allowed to come to a vote, Maduro would be removed from power. However, if the vote takes place after January 1st his vice president would automatically take over, leaving the socialists in power.