CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela’s political crisis (all times local):
The head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress made an emotional plea for opponents of President Maduro to remain mobilized on the streets to capitalize growing international pressure on the embattled socialist.
“What we’re seeing in Venezuela is the complete abduction of all its institutions by a single hand, a single political party” Julio Borges, president of the opposition-controlled congress, told journalists after the constitutional assembly voted Saturday to remove chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega, an action reserved for the national assembly according to the current constitution.
An opposition protest Friday against the installation of the pro-government super assembly failed to draw more than a few hundred demonstrators — one of the smallest turnouts in more than four months of deadly street demonstrations that has left more than 120 dead and hundreds more jailed.
Borges seemed to recognize the challenges the opposition faces regaining its footing and warned that government’s use of scare tactics will only intensify in the coming days. But he urged Venezuelans to continue to protest peacefully and said lawmakers would do their part by continuing to convene, the next time Monday.
“The only thing the government has left is violence and brute force,” he said. “We shouldn’t think the government is winning. The only thing it’s doing is destroying itself and committing suicide.”
Venezuela’s all-powerful constitutional assembly is eliciting jeers from regional critics on Twitter and cheers from some allies after voting to oust the country’s chief prosecutor on its second day in session.
President Juan Manuel Santos of neighboring Colombia calls Saturday’s removal of Luisa Ortega “the first dictatorial act” of an “illegitimate” assembly and vows solidarity with the Venezuelan people.
Luis Almagro is secretary-general of the Organization of American States. He tweets that the designation of government loyalist Tarek William Saab as Ortega’s replacement is a “null act” by an “unconstitutional Assembly in the context of the breakdown of institutional order in Venezuela.”
But Bolivian President Evo Morales is full of praise for the assembly. He says the body is guided by the legacy of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.
Morales tweets that “democracy is guaranteed through the votes of the…