Last night, National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup spoke on CNN en Español about the ongoing situation regarding the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia‘s (TSJ) injunction against three opposition deputies from Amazonas. Allup said that he had received a letter from the deputies expressing their intention to step down from their posts in order to lift the TSJ’s order that all of the National Assembly’s acts are null unless they do so.
I received a letter today signed by deputies Julio Igarza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamara (…) asking that the by removed from the [National Assembly] so that they may defend themselves in court and avoid that the TSJ declare the National Assembly’s acts null (…) having read their letter, the National Assembly will have to discuss their removal.
Allup lamented the fact that the National Assembly is being “harassed” by the TSJ, which he continues to believe works side-by-side with the government to carry out its will. When asked when he expected new elections to take place in Amazonas to elect replacements for the deputies, Allup said:
Don’t be surprised when I tell you that in these courts that so depend on the government there are no [average] time frames, no norms, and no procedural certainty. They’ll making it up as they go along. I know that this is completely unbelievable for any other country that has even a partially independent judicial branch. Sadly, this kind of institutional collapse is the situation that we have here in Venezuela over the last 17 years.
National Assembly Approves Deputies’ Removal
The National Assembly met starting at around 10:30 AM local time this morning, and its first order of business was to address the Amazonas deputies’ request to be removed from their posts. After a brief discussion, the National Assembly voted to allow for their removal.
The move means that the legislature abides by the TSJ’s order issued on Monday declaring all of their acts null unless the three deputies in question abandon their posts.
We’ve entered a new stage. Fortunately for the country, [the opposition] backed down.
National Assembly Receives Deed Law
Opposition deputy Julio Borges presented before the National Assembly a bill that would grant property deeds to Venezuelans living in Mision Vivienda subsidized housing units. The law seeks to ensure that all Venezuelans living in subsidized housing can claim ownership of the units they inhabit in order to provide legal stability and certainty to their living arrangements. Debate on the bill is expected to begin next week.
Government critics have pointed out in the past that by not granting Mision Vivienda residents ownership of their homes and apartments, residents were purposely placed in a kind of limbo where they feared angering the government (by speaking out or protesting against it, or by not voting for the PSUV) at the risk of losing their homes.
When introducing the project, Borges said:
We don’t want a country of slaves. We want a country of citizens, and here is the [opposition’s] first step.
Gov’t Supporters Hurl Tomatoes, Light Fireworks At Journalists
El Nacional reported today that pro-government crowd welcomed reporters to the National Assembly this morning by throwing tomatoes at them and shooting fireworks in their direction. According to reporters on the scene, the crowd carried pro-government signs and shouted insults against the opposition.
A journalist named Alex Vazquez sarcastically called the act “a show of tolerance”, while La Patilla‘s Roman Camacho managed to tweet this picture from the scene:
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