Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido stripped of parliamentary immunity, allowing potential arrest

Government investigating the self-declared interim president on terrorism accusations

Anatoly Kurmanaev
Wednesday 03 April 2019 14:02
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Journalists allegedly detained by Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro after showing him a video of people eating rubbish

A pro-government lawmaking body installed by President Nicolas Maduro voted on Tuesday to strip the opposition leader Juan Guaido of parliamentary immunity, paving the way for his potential arrest.

The move by the Constituent Assembly represents the government’s latest effort to raise the pressure on Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January in the biggest challenge that Maduro has faced in six years in office.

In recent weeks, the government has barred Guaido from travelling, frozen his bank accounts, begun investigating him on terrorism accusations, and prohibited him from running for office.

But thus far the government has stopped short of detaining Guaido. The United States has repeatedly said that any attack on Guaido would draw a severe reaction.

Guaido has brushed off legal challenges from the government in the past, going so far as touring South American capitals despite the travel ban.

The opposition does not recognise the Constituent Assembly, a sort of parallel congress created by Maduro two years ago as a means of circumventing the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

“The regime believes that by attacking me, they will stop us,” Guaido told supporters outside his house Tuesday night. “There’s no way back in this process.”

Venezuela’s intensifying political battle is unfolding amid an electrical crisis that has led to almost daily blackouts in most major cities since early March.

Lights went off in parts of the capital, Caracas, minutes after the Constituent Assembly’s vote.

On Tuesday the government announced that it would introduce national power rationing in peak hours until further notice.

The New York Times

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