HAVANA TIMES – The Venezuelan National Assembly called the Supreme Court decision to assume legislative functions and grant President Nicolas Maduro “all powers”, as if were a king, the equivalent of a coup, reported dpa news.
“In Venezuela there is no Constitution, today Nicolas Maduro has all powers illegally granted him by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court,” said Assembly majority leader Julio Borges.
“We have to call this what it is; this has no other name than a coup and a dictatorship,” added the opposition leader.
“The legislative branch has to defend the Constitution, convoke elections, and promote more democracy and justice,” insisted Borges, who at a press conference at the National Assembly showed a copy of the Supreme Court ruling and then tore it into pieces. “We will not comply,” he said.
On Wednesday night, the nation’s highest court issued a ruling in which it deprived deputies of their legislative powers and declared it lawful for the government appointed Supreme Court justices to assume their functions.
According to the judges, as long as the situation of “contempt” and invalidity of the proceedings of the National Assembly persists, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court will ensure that “parliamentary powers are exercised directly by this Chamber or by the body it so decides, to ensure the rule of law.”
The ruling brings to a head the power struggle in Venezuela taking to the maximum the progressive government ignoring of the faculties of the legislature, elected in December 2015 with a clear opposition majority.
The decision of the court authorizes the Executive to create joint venture oil companies, without the endorsement of the legislature, which, by law, must approve this type of operations.
Borges warned that, with the ruling, Maduro seeks to avoid control by the Assembly over the oil businesses to “deliver them to his Russian friends, among others.”
“This is a message to the companies that are signing those contracts: They are invalid and when a change of government comes these strategic associations are void because they were granted against the laws and the Constitution,” he said.
In addition, he indicated that the ruling justifies the request in the Organization of American States (OAS) to activate the Democratic Charter in Venezuela.
“In Venezuela there is no democracy, there was a coup and we need the solidarity of the OAS countries,” he said referring to the debate this week in the hemispheric forum on the Venezuelan crisis.
This week, the OAS held an extraordinary session to discuss the Venezuelan situation that was rejected by the authorities in Caracas.
The Secretary General of the hemispheric body, Luis Almagro, asked to implement the Democratic Charter, which would imply the suspension of Venezuela from the OAS.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued another ruling limiting the parliamentary immunity of deputies. The opposition denounced that Maduro will try to imprison the deputies after accusing them of treason by requesting the activation of the Democratic Charter.
On that ruling, Maduro said that the Court was granting him “special powers”, an exclusive faculty of the National Assembly.
Borges stressed that the Assembly was chosen by 14 million Venezuelans in December 2015, a historic figure in that type of voting, and announced a series of demonstrations in repudiation of the Government.
The Maduro government is the chief economic and political ally of the Raul Castro government in Cuba.