Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Row kicks off as Diego Maradona expresses support for Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro

Row kicks off as Diego Maradona expresses support for Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro

Ramon Muchacho is the fourth opposition mayor whose arrest the high court has sought in the past two weeks.

The court is hearing a similar case against the mayor of another Caracas district, David Smolansky of El Hatillo.

Muchacho's whereabouts were not immediately known, but he denounced the ruling on Twitter, saying that "all of the weight of the revolutionary injustice has fallen on my shoulders" for doing his job to guarantee the constitutional right to protest.

Venezuela has been beset by a wave of anti-government protests since April 1 that have left at least 121 people dead.

The U.S. previously targeted Maduro with sanctions, in a rare action against a foreign head of state.

The President also welcomed the ANC's decision to remove the sitting prosecutor general, Luisa Ortega Diaz, a vocal Maduro critic, and named former ombudsman Tarek William Saab as a temporary replacement. Still, Venezuela is facing mounting pressure and threats of deepening sanctions from trade partners.

"The Constituent Assembly got off on the right foot", Maduro said on Sunday.

Foreign ministers of 16 Latin American and Caribbean nations as well as Canada met in Peru on Tuesday to evaluate further measures. The elections are now scheduled for December, though a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly could still cancel the vote.

And a loyalist "Constituent Assembly" - a body with supreme powers installed last week after elections marred by violence and allegations of fraud - passed a law creating a "truth commission" to prosecute opposition leaders. Lawmakers voted unanimously Monday not to recognize any of the new super body's decrees.

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Whether Maduro will call up his high-profile supporter to the cause remains to be seen.

- Security forces allegedly are responsible at least 46 deaths.

"We condemn the economic sanctions against the people of Venezuela that are a clear violation of worldwide law and human rights, and an unacceptable interference with the only goal to cause direct damage to the Bolivarian government and the people of Venezuela", the final document released after the Alliance's meeting in Caracas said, Sputnik reported.

In the face of increasingly tough tactics, and divisions within the opposition about how to confront the government, turnout at recent demonstrations has been small.

Activists anti-Maduro fleeing before the National Guard.

“The fading out of democratic institutions in recent times has reached its culmination and what we have in Venezuela is a dictatorship, ” Luna said. They expressed support for renewed negotiations between the government and opposition, though previous talks have failed. Candidates are expected to sign up to run this week.

The European Union is criticizing the removal of Venezuela's public prosecutor by a newly installed constitutional assembly with almost unlimited authority to govern.

President Nicolas Maduro summoned the constitutional assembly in what he contends is an attempt to resolve the nation's political standoff, but opposition leaders insist it is a power grab.

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